Following are some of the issues likely to be discussed by President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev when they meet on warships in Marsaxlokk Bay:
EASTERN EUROPE: The political upheaval in the Soviet-led East Bloc as Poland, Hungary, East Germany and Czechoslovakia move to lift the "Iron Curtain" and introduce democratic reforms. Bush is anxious to encourage the democratic transformation of the Communist states but does not want to be seen as undercutting Gorbachev's stature as the catalyst of change. Gorbachev seized the initiative a day before flying to Malta by proposing an all-European summit to discuss events in Eastern Europe.
GERMAN REUNIFICATION: The opening of the Berlin Wall revived calls from West Germany for the two German states to be reunited, causing nervousness in some European capitals that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance could be jeopardized. The Soviet Union has made clear that reunification is unacceptable at present, and White House aides have sought to play the issue down despite calls from some U.S. conservatives to press it.
ARMS REDUCTIONS: Both sides have said no arms control deals would be signed at the summit. But U.S. defense officials are believed to be willing to cut their forces by 250,000 troops, 350 planes and 60 ships over the next four years. Officials say about half of about 300,000 U.S. troops in Europe could be withdrawn if relations improve with the Warsaw Pact states.
NAVAL DISARMAMENT: In another pre-summit initiative, Gorbachev called for the two superpowers to withdraw their permanent naval forces from the Mediterranean. The United States adamantly refuses, saying this would hamper its ability to honor commitments to NATO allies.
CENTRAL AMERICA: Secretary of State James A. Baker III says Soviet behavior in Central America is the biggest obstacle to improving U.S.-Soviet relations. The United States this week renewed accusations that Moscow is sending arms to left-wing governments and revolutionaries. The Soviet Union has denied supplying arms to guerrillas fighting the U.S.-backed government in El Salvador.
TRADE: The Soviet Union wants the United States to waive a law denying Moscow favorable tariffs for its exports because of restrictions on Jewish emigration. Trade between the two superpowers is worth between $3 billion and $4 billion a year, much of it American grain.