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Soviet Missile Inspectors Arrive in Germany

July 4, 1988

FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ A group of 19 Soviet missile specialists arrived Monday to verify compliance with the superpower treaty scrapping intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

Another group of Soviet specialists arrived in the United States last week, while American inspectors went to the Soviet Union.

The Soviets who arrived in Frankfurt will carry out inspections of missile sites in West Germany.

Vladimir A. Akimenkov, head of one team, opened his statement with good wishes for Americans on the Fourth of July.

″We congratulate you on the occasion of Independence Day,″ Akimenkov said through an interpreter.

″Our team has arrived today to conduct inspection outlined by the INF treaty,″ Akimenkov said. ″It’s an important milestone in relations between our countries.″

He added that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty would contribute to ″saving mankind from the nuclear holocaust.″

Alimenkov, speaking to reporters at the U.S. Rhein-Main Air Base, did not specify where the Soviet inspectors were heading, in keeping with treaty regulations.

Missile specialists, according to the treaty, are not allowed to identify inspection sites until four hours after their arrival, said U.S. Navy Capt. James Connell of the Washington-based On-site Inspection Agency, which was established to implement the inspection provisions of the treaty.

The Soviets were welcomed by U.S. Air Force Col. David Williams and Col. Onno Oldig of the West German armed forces.

Earlier, the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart said the Soviets will conduct a ″baseline inspection″ of facilities and equipment based in Germany, which means they will establish the guide, or ″baseline,″ on what’s there on paper and what’s actually there.

The inspections are the first type to be made under the treaty.

″Baseline inspections are not very complicated. We’re basically talking about counting and measuring. It’s basicially taking inventory,″ a U.S. Air Force spokesman in Frankfurt told The Associated Press. He requested anonymity.

There are six sites in West Germany that would be subject to inspection under the treaty.

West German Army officials in Stuttgart said they expect the Soviets on Tuesday. The inspectors likely will visit Pershing missile sites in Schwaebish Gmuend near Stuttgart, the officials said in a statement.

The American inspectors in the Soviet Union will verify destruction of 1,800 missiles and check on about 3,200 related components, including storage and transport missile containers and special hauling vehicles.

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