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Gorbachev, Kohl Sign Pact on Reduction of Weapons

June 13, 1989|From Times Wire Services

BONN — Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Chancellor Helmut Kohl signed a broad declaration today that calls for a 50% reduction in nuclear arsenals and a worldwide ban on chemical weapons.

The document on common principles of both nations was signed on the second day of the Soviet leader's first state visit to West Germany.

The pact signed by Kohl and Gorbachev said their countries have a common European heritage, and that European nations should exist in "peaceful competition with one another" and reduce their military might.

'Common European Home'

It also said cooperation by West Germany and the Soviet Union "is not directed against anyone" and that a special place in the "common European home" is reserved for the United States and Canada.

Asked if the agreement could help resolve territorial questions stirred by the 1939 non-aggression pact signed by Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin--which allowed the Soviet Union to annex three independent Baltic states--Gorbachev told a reporter, "I don't think we need to turn to such a distant chapter of history."

He said the joint agreement was to formalize the wish of both Moscow and Bonn to enter "a new stage in our relations."

The signing ceremony was carried live on West German television.

Earlier, Gorbachev received a rapturous reception that outstripped the welcome given two weeks ago to Bush, who scores far below the Soviet leader in West German opinion polls.

'A Great Joy'

Gorbachev said today that he does not believe opinion polls showing he is West Germany's favorite politician, but the enthusiastic welcome he has received in Bonn makes him very happy.

"I am quite pleased with the atmosphere here. For me it is a great joy," Gorbachev told reporters a few hours after being greeted by thousands of West Germans in Bonn's market place.

"But I don't really believe in those polls," he added.

Gorbachev ranks higher than any other leader in West German opinion polls, the latest of which showed that 90% of all people surveyed trusted him.

Thousands of Bonn residents showed their feelings today by chanting "Gorby, Gorby" and giving the Kremlin chief the most enthusiastic welcome afforded a foreign leader in years.

Gorbachev plunged into the cheering crowds, shaking hands, signing autographs and even hoisting a young boy onto his shoulder. Smiling and laughing much of the time, he was obviously enjoying himself.

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