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Arms Talks Adjourn on Optimistic Note

December 8, 1989

GENEVA (AP) _ U.S. and Soviet negotiators adjourned their latest round of arms control talks Friday on an optimistic note but said much work remains to meet a 1990 goal for completing a treaty slashing long-range nuclear arsenals.

At the Malta summit last weekend, President Bush and President Mikhail S. Gorbachev agreed all major outstanding issues should be resolved by their next summit in June and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty should be signed before the end of 1990.

″After Malta, a START agreement is now within sight,″ U.S. chief negotiator Richard R. Burt told the first joint news conference since the talks began 4 1/2 years ago.

Burt said the latest round had produced ″significant results across-the board,″ and specifically in the area of inspection and verification.

He cautioned, however, ″Let no one be under the illusion that the road ahead will be easy. The two sides disagree on some major issues and much work remains.″

His Soviet counterpart, Yuri Nazarkin, said the 10-week round had brought the two sides closer to the conclusion of the treaty. But he also said major issues remain unresolved.

Nazarkin said the Soviet Union continues to insist on some kind of linkage between agreement on START and space defense questions, reflecting Moscow’s continued concern over the United States’ program for a space-based missile defense system, called the Strategic Defense Initiative.

″We are prepared to sign the START treaty with the understanding that by that time, both sides will continue to comply with the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) treaty ,″ Nazarkin said. The Soviet Union holds that implementation of SDI violates that treaty.

Burt said such an understanding, which would permit the Soviets to withdraw from START if they feel the ABM treaty was violated, was ″unnecessary and unjustified.″

He announced that Soviet experts, led by Nazarkin, will leave for the United States next week to visit two SDI research laboratories in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and Los Alamos, N.M.

This follows an invitation extended by Secretary of State James A. Baker III in Wyoming in September. Burt said this visit would show ″further openness″ in the SDI program.

David J. Smith, chief negotiator in the parallel talks on defense and space, said a new U.S. draft treaty had been submitted at the talks this week to respond to recent Soviet moves regarding the ABM treaty.

Nazarkin also said the issue of submarine-launched cruise missiles would have to be resolved before the START treaty is signed. In the Wyoming meeting with Baker, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, Moscow offered to take that issue out of the START treaty and deal with it in a separate accord.

The United States maintains these missiles cannot be monitored effectively, no matter whether limits on them are placed with a START treaty or outside it.

At the last session preceding the news conference, the two sides formalized agreements on two verification and stability measures to be implemented on a trial basis.

One includes procedures to allow inspectors to distinguish between bombers that are equipped to carry air-launched cruise missiles, and those bombers not so equipped.

The other provides for reciprocal demonstration of techniques that permit identification of each missile. Burt said a third, to be signed soon, would show procedures to make sure that the number of nuclear warheads on each missile does not exceed the number assigned to it in the START treaty.

START is intended to reduce by 30 percent to 50 percent the land-, air- and sea-based missiles with which each superpower can strike the other. Both sides already have agreed to lowered ceilings of 1,600 delivery vehicles - missiles and bombers - and 6,000 nuclear warheads.

The next round of the Geneva talks is tentatively scheduled to start soon after another meeting planned in Moscow next month between Baker and Shevardnandze, Burt said.

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