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Reagan Links More Arms Cuts to Soviet Action

December 14, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Reagan said today the United States will not make further reductions in nuclear weapons in Europe until the Soviets' advantages in conventional and chemical weapons are addressed.

Reagan, in a speech before the Center for International and Strategic Studies, reaffirmed his commitment to "Star Wars," or the Strategic Defense Initiative, while saying he will press the Soviets for an "effectively verifiable" treaty to reduce long-range strategic nuclear weapons by 50%.

The superpowers made "concrete progress" on such a treaty, known as START, during last week's summit, he said.

He noted that the Soviet Union has advantages over the NATO allies in conventional weapons in Europe. Moscow is also favored in the area of chemical weapons, he said.

"We are acting here with the clear understanding that these imbalances must be addressed prior to any further reductions in the nuclear forces committed to NATO," Reagan said.

Looks Forward to Senate Action

Reagan said he looks forward to Senate scrutiny of the treaty he signed last week with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev eliminating intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.

"I welcome the Senate ratification process," Reagan said in his first public appearance since Gorbachev left the United States on Thursday following the summit.

"How can we fail to hail this treaty as a historic achievement?" Reagan asked.

At the same time, he said the United States will "retain a modern nuclear deterrent on the ground, in the air and at sea."

Reagan vowed to stand firm on "Star Wars," one of the thorny issues during the summit. "When we have a strategic defense ready to deploy, we will do so," he said.

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