Bush, Kohl discuss form of economic aid to Soviets

May 21, 1991|By Karen Hosler | Karen Hosler,Washington Bureau of The Sun

Washington -- President Bush and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl debated the issue yesterday of how to help the Soviet economy but came to no resolution.

At a 90-minute White House session, the two leaders also sidestepped the question of whether Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev should be invited to intend the July economic summit of industrialized nations.

"President Gorbachev is going to play a role" at the economic summit to be held in London in July whether he is "actually bodily present or not," Mr. Kohl predicted.

But he said the seven summit partners would have to "weigh carefully the pros and cons" of allowing Soviet participation before its economy has completed a transformation from state-run to market-based.

Mr. Bush, who is still considering whether to grant $1.5 billion in agricultural credits to the Soviet Union, said: "We're waiting and considering . . . what would be most helpful in terms of the economic recovery in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe."

Earlier in the day, Mr. Kohl, who is making his first visit to the United States as leader of the reunited Germany, staunchly defended his nation against charges that it did not contribute enough to the allied effort in the Persian Gulf. He noted that Germany is bearing most of the burden for the redevelopment of Eastern Europe, including $33.7 billion so far for the Soviet Union.

.5l "It is a fact that from the very start we contributed substantially to the success of the military operations in the gulf by all means at our disposal," Mr. Kohl told U.S. foreign affairs experts.

Although Germany was prohibited by its constitution from sending military forces to the gulf, Mr. Kohl noted a cash contribution of $11.5 billion, of which $6.6 billion went to the United States.

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