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Mitterrand Urges Balance in Non-Nuclear Forces

February 11, 1988|From Times Wire Services

PARIS — President Francois Mitterrand told five U.S. senators on Wednesday he supports the U.S.-Soviet intermediate nuclear forces treaty but that balancing East-West conventional forces should be a priority, sources said.

The senators, including Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, met with Mitterrand for more than an hour at the presidential Elysee Palace.

The senators are on a tour to sound out European leaders on the U.S.-Soviet treaty to ban ground-launched intermediate-range nuclear missiles and on disarmament negotiations still in progress.

Sources at the palace quoted Mitterrand as saying he was "unreservedly" favorable to the treaty, which Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and President Reagan signed Dec. 8. They said he also expressed the wish that strategic arms negotiations in Geneva would reach a positive result.

However, Mitterrand stressed that finding a balance among conventional forces was an "absolute priority," said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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