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Two Leaders End Summit, Call Talks 'a Clear Success'

December 10, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Reagan today ended his three-day summit meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and pronounced the talks "a clear success" that brought progress but no breakthroughs on reducing long-range missiles.

"A good deal has been accomplished," the Soviet leader agreed, hailing the treaty signed on Tuesday to eliminate medium-range nuclear missiles. On the long-range missile issue, Gorbachev said much work remains before agreement can be reached.

The two leaders offered strikingly similar summations as they stood under umbrellas in a chill rain outside the White House for a formal departure ceremony.

"The cause of world peace and world freedom is still waiting, Mr. General Secretary. It has waited long enough," Reagan said during their remarks, televised live to both nations.

Said Gorbachev: "There is still much work to be done and we must get down to it without delay."

No Mention of Star Wars

Neither superpower leader made mention of Reagan's "Star Wars" plan for a space-based missile defense system, which Gorbachev has attempted in the past to halt and which caused the collapse of the last U.S.-Soviet summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, 14 months ago.

Nor did either leader mention the prospects for Reagan to make a return visit to Moscow next year to sign an agreement on reducing strategic nuclear weapons by as much as 50%.

But Gorbachev, who played host to a series of meetings in the Soviet Embassy for the past three days, said he hopes to return to the United States some day, to come "face to face with its great people, to chat and to have some lively exchanges with ordinary Americans."

Thus ended the third summit meeting between the two men in three years--one that produced the signing of a historic treaty banning medium-range missiles, but failed to achieve a breakthrough on a second, more ambitious arms accord.

Neither did they appear to have resolved such other sticky summit issues as human rights or a Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Final Session Delayed

The two men made their statements after meeting for a final time in the White House, a session that was delayed 90 minutes so senior aides could report to each leader privately on the results of behind-the-scenes arms control discussions.

Gorbachev's motorcade stopped en route to the White House and he and Vice President George Bush stepped out to shake hands with startled lunchtime strollers. (Story on Page 2.)

When Gorbachev finally got to the White House at noon EST, Reagan greeted him, "I thought you'd gone home." The Soviet leader quipped, "I had a chat with a group of Americans who stopped our car."

Officials said Gorbachev's 90-minute delay in arrival was actually by agreement between the two sides "to give the two leaders a chance to be briefed" before their final discussions over a working lunch.

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