Bush may delay February talks with Gorbachev

January 08, 1991|By Karen Hosler | Karen Hosler,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- President Bush may postpone his planned summit in Moscow next month with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, according to White House officials, who say the trip is threatened both by the Persian Gulf crisis and problems in the U.S.-Soviet relationship.

The most imminent threat to the meeting, scheduled for Feb. 11-13, is posed by the situation in the gulf. The White House has not ruled out the possibility that Mr. Bush would travel if hostilities were under way, but administration officials said it was unlikely the president would make the trip unless the crisis was close to being resolved.

Other factors that could influence a decision to postpone the summit include snags on treaties covering reduction of both conventional arms in Europe and long-range nuclear weapons and U.S. alarm about a military crackdown in the Baltics, officials said.

U.S. negotiators have been complaining since Nov. 18, the day before the 34-nation treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe was signed, that the Soviets had provided faulty information on the number and type of weapons that would be subject to disposal from Moscow's arsenal.

Administration officials said Mr. Bush is reluctant to complete negotiations on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) until the dispute over the CFE agreement is resolved.

Formal signing of the START agreement was to be the primary purpose of the summit.

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