Pact to cut nuclear weapons sought before June summit

March 12, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Russia challenged the United States yesterday to agree to faster cuts in long-range nuclear weapons in time for the June summit between President Bush and Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin.

After almost five hours of negotiations on the two competing arms reduction proposals, Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei V. Kozyrev said they had made progress but still disagreed on several key issues.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Yeltsin have both proposed large-scale cuts in their nuclear arsenals, but they differ on what missiles should be cut and how fast. Mr. Kozyrev said he was optimistic that a compromisecould be reached by the summit, scheduled for Washington June 16-17.

"We worked as friends and allies standing on one side of the barricade, with all the problems that beset us on the other," he said.

"The primary differences between us now continue to relate to the timing of future reductions," Mr. Baker said.

"The timing has not been agreed to, nor, frankly, has the exact mix that those reductions would take." He said the two countries were exchanging proposals to solve the issues.

All the reductions under discussion would go far beyond START, which was signed last July but has not yet been ratified by the Senate or implemented by either side.

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