Soviet Foreign Minister Arrives in Warsaw
WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze today began a two-day visit expected to finalize plans for the first trip to Moscow by non-communist Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki.
″The Soviet leadership places a lot of importance″ on this week’s visit, Polish radio quoted Shevardnadze as telling Foreign Minister Krzystzof Skubiszewski after arriving at Okecie airport.
″We have high expectations for it,″ said Skubiszewski, an international law professor sympathetic to the Solidarity trade union movement that heads the government.
The Soviet foreign minister is later scheduled to meet with Mazowiecki, a former Solidarity editor and close adviser of union leader Lech Walesa.
Shevardnadze is the second high-ranking Soviet official to visit Warsaw since Mazowiecki was elected the first non-communist leader in the East Bloc on Aug. 24. Two days later KGB chief Viktor Kryuchkov met with Mazowiecki and called him a ″solid man.″
Shevardnadze arrived in Poland one day after making a major foreign policy speech in Moscow where he said that the Soviet Union would observe strict principles of non-intervention in other nations’ affairs and ″absolute freedom of choice.″
He also indicated that the Soviet Union was prepared to negotiate the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and NATO alliances and to withdraw its military forces to within its own borders by the year 2,000.
Poland and Hungary have been leading the way in implementing democratic reform in the East bloc. Mazowiecki and his Cabinet have promised to respect Poland’s alliance within the Warsaw Pact.