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World Leaders Praise Shevardnadze, Lament His Resignation With PM-Soviet-Politics, Bjt

December 21, 1990

BONN, Germany (AP) _ The closer their countries to the Soviet Union, the more worried leaders seemed to be by Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze’s resignation.

One exception was the hard-line Communist government of China, whose Foreign Ministry would say only that Shevardnadze’s dramatic announcement Thursday was ″an internal affair of the Soviet Union. We will continue to develop friendly neighbor relations with the Soviet Union.″

Elsewhere, the announced resignation of the man who helped Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev end the Cold War provoked apprehensions about the future of the Soviet Union and its leader. Gorbachev said Shevardnadze agreed to stay on until a successor is chosen.

Germany, fearing that failure of the Soviet president’s reforms could endanger East European stability, was especially nervous about Shevardnadze’s resignation announcement.

″We can only hope that the reforms are carried out. They are good for the Soviet Union and they are good for the relationship between our people and for developments in Europe,″ said German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Germans credit the Soviets, in particular Gorbachev and his foreign minister, with clearing the way for eastern Europe’s sweeping reforms and German unification.

Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the German foreign minister, said he is confident of final Soviet approval of the treaty guaranteeing German sovereignty, despite the resignation of one of Moscow’s leading reformers.

Genscher and Roland Dumas, the French foreign minister, urgently appealed for an international effort to bolster Gorbachev’s reform program with financial aid.

Dumas said he hoped Shevardnadze’s ″cry of alarm″ would be heard.

″It will serve as a warning to Western countries and others who are dragging their feet over aid which must be given,″ he said. Dumas said Shevardnadze had privately shared with him his concerns about the future of the Soviet Union but noted ″this is the first time that he says it publicly.″

The foreign ministers of the 12-nation European Community, which recently pledged $2.8 billion in aid to the Soviets, received Shevardnadze’s ″with regret.″

A statement said the EC nations ″express their firmest hope that the resignation ... will not entail changes in Soviet policy which might call into question the significant results thus far achieved in international relations ... in the direction of disarmament and peace.″

In Poland, which has a 700-mile border with the Soviet Union, Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski said the internal situation there can ″in many respects ... cause anxiety.″

″The decision of Eduard Shevardnadze can be treated as a warning. Internal policy, especially that of a superpower, finds reflection in foreign policy,″ he said.

The prime minister of Soviet Lithuania, Kazimiera Prunskiene, told a news conference in Tokyo today that her independence-minded republic is alarmed by Shevardnadze’s resignation.

She said it may mean that progress achieved by the pro-perestroika forces is being turned back by conservative forces, including sections of the Communist Party and the military.

″His resignation may lead to a situation that is unfavorable for Lithuanian independence,″ she said.

There was a worldwide outpouring of praise for Shevardnadze, a welcome guest in many capitals.

U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar told reporters: ″On a personal basis, I regret this. He is a personal friend and he was very supportive of the United Nations.″

Vatican Radio hailed Shevardnadze as the ″great architect of the Soviet diplomacy that contributed to ending the Cold War.″

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama said he was ″really surprised by the sudden announcement. I would like to watch the situation calmly.″

Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans said today that Shevardnadze’s resignation raises matters of ″immediate worry″ for Gorbachev’s leadership.

″The optimistic view is that it could act as a warning shot to galvanize the reformers, there does seem to be at least an attempt by Mr. Shevardnadze to do just that by the style and the forecefulness of his resignation speech,″ Evans said.

Secretary of State James A. Baker III called the outgoing minister his friend, but said Gorbachev had assured him that Soviet foreign policy would continue on course.

American Gen. John R. Galvin, NATO’s military commander in Europe, said bluntly: ″The Soviets certainly face a bleak winter. I hope what we’re hearing now doesn’t make it any worse.″

″All of us in the West want to see the Soviet people continue on a track that will lead to full democracy, free enterprise and respect for human rights,″ Galvin said. ″But this has to be done in a way that maintains order without sacrificing democratic principles.″

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