Soviet Leader Calls On West To Back Economic Reforms
STUTTGART, West Germany (AP) _ Mikhail S. Gorbachev, buoyed by an outpouring of goodwill and a new friendship pact with West Germany, consulted the leaders of this high-tech stronghold today looking for expertise to advance his reforms.
A crowd of 5,000 gathered behind barriers across from the New Castle state residence where Gorbachev spent more than two hours talking with political and industrial leaders of Baden-Wuerttemberg, one of West Germany’s most prosperous states.
Before his formal meetings with local leaders and a tour of a robotics and industrial machinery exhibit at Stuttgart University, the Kremlin leader mingled with the crowd to thunderous cheers and cries of ″Bravo, Gorby.″
″I like Mike,″ ″Greetings, Gorby,″ and ″New Thinking, No New Weapons,″ proclaimed some of the signs hoisted by the well-wishers.
Referring to the cheering receptions he has been accorded at all of his public appearances, Gorbachev said, ″this has really pleased all the Soviet people.″
While he talked business with industrial and political leaders, his wife, Raisa, visited a working-class neighborhood and paid a brief call on a local family before returning to the castle for lunch.
The couple were greeted upon arrival at Echterdingen airport by Badem- Wuerttemberg state’s governor, Lothar Spaeth, rumored to be a challenger to Chancellor Helmut Kohl in next year’s federal elections.
Gorbachev’s visit is likely to impart even more prestige on the governor, who oversees one of the nation’s most prosperous regions.
On Tuesday, Gorbachev appealed for close integration of the West German and Soviet economies to make the countries’ improving relations ″more quake- resistant.″
Addressing West German business leaders at the Cologne Stock Exchange, the Soviet president challenged them to invest in large Soviet projects rather than ″trifles.″
West Germany is the Soviet Union’s largest Western trading partner, but Gorbachev said the level of trade is small compared to the possibilities.
He also called on the West to lift restrictions on high-technology transfers. Gorbachev is seeking advanced Western technology and know-how to rebuild Soviet industry and keep his promise that reform will bring average Soviets a better life.
West Germany’s most powerful banker has warned that it could take up to two decades to reform the Soviet economy, which is plagued by consumer shortages and shoddy goods.
″But precisely because it will take so long, there is a need to start immediately and steadfastly pursue the reform efforts,″ Deutsche Bank chairman Alfred Herrhausen said in a television interview Monday night.
His four-day visit, which ends Thursday, has been marked by a desire on both sides for a fresh start in Soviet-German relations and cooperation between the historical adversaries in pursuit of European unity.
While the Soviet Union clearly hopes the summit will yield deeper economic ties with West Germany and other Western nations, officials on both sides have stressed that they are part of a broad strategy endorsed on Tuesday.
The document spells out common objectives for improving security and ensuring peace, and it stresses other nations should not fear closer ties between Moscow and Bonn.
It proclaims their desire for ″a common European home in which the United States and Canada have their place″ and where all nations exist in ″peaceful competition with one another.″
In an address at a state dinner at Augustusburg Castle outside Bonn, Gorbachev predicted, ″Our cooperation can serve as a catalyst for new relations between the whole of East and West.″
Government spokesman Hans Klein described the declaration signed by Gorbachev and Chancellor Helmut Kohl as a ″turning point″ in Soviet-West German relations.
The declaration reiterates the aim of cutting strategic nuclear weapons by 50 percent and completely eliminating chemical weapons.
The accord also states support for the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed by both superpowers, which is seen by the Soviets and West Germans as a ban on development of the ″Star Wars″ space defense advocated by former President Reagan.
It carefully avoids reference to the main point of contention in arms control between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the issue of how to go about reducing short-range nuclear weapons.
Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady I. Gerasimov, at a news briefing with Klein, said Gorbachev had deemed the declaration the reward of ″a long path of searching over many years.″