U.S., Soviets expect accord this year on strategic arms

October 06, 1990|By Mark Matthews | Mark Matthews,Sun Staff Correspondent

NEW YORK -- The United States and the Soviet Union made "good progress" in settling remaining problems on a long-range nuclear weapons treaty and expect to have it ready to sign by year's end, their foreign ministers said here last night.

They also resolved remaining small problems blocking a treaty cutting non-nuclear forces in Europe.

Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze predicted that next month's conference in Paris on Europe's new security -- which the United States had refused to attend unless a conventional-forces treaty were signed -- would go forward as scheduled.

The major remaining issue blocking a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is the Soviets' fear that the United States, in reducing its own strategic arsenals, could turn them over to other countries, such as Britain.

The Soviets have sought to limit weapons-sharing programs between the United States and its allies to no more than the planned sale of Trident missiles for British submarines.

Secretary of State James A. Baker III said that progress had been made on this problem and that once it was settled, two other issues -- the range of the Soviet Backfire bomber and the number of tests allowed for the Soviet SS-18 missiles -- would fall into place. Observers said this indicated the Soviets were stalling on lesser issues in hope of winning concessions on weapons-sharing.

"I think I am sure that we will be able to" complete START talks by the end of the year, Mr. Shevardnadze said, and Mr. Baker agreed. This advanced the prospect of a superpower summit in Moscow late this year or early next year.

In discussing the Persian Gulf crisis, Mr. Baker said the two men remained in agreement that "partial solutions should be avoided" that fell short of unconditional Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait and restoration of the ruling family there.

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