Western Delegates Wait For Eastern Move on Human Rights
VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ Western delegates to an East-West conference which has been stalled over human rights issues said Friday that the Soviet bloc must accept stronger human rights resolutions if progress is to be made.
The 35-nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which originally was scheduled to end last July, resumed work after a Christmas break.
″We have reached a critical point,″ said William Bauer, the head of the Canadian delegation to the conference.
He said that after 15 months, delegations had nothing to show ″but an intimate knowledge of each other’s positions.″
Helmut Schaefer, West German minister of state, told a news conference that the East-West climate was generally ″favorable″ but he was ″curious whether progress will be visible here that (we are seeing) elsewhere.″
Western delegates have accused the East of stalling on human rights issues or trying to put forward weaker resolutions on human rights for inclusion in a final document which is in the drafting stage.
The East has been pushing for rapid progress on issues of military security.
The Vienna meeting is the third follow-up conference involving all 35 countries who signed accords on military security, economic cooperation and humanitarian issues in Helsinki in 1975.
Delegates from the Soviet Union, the United States, Canada and all European countries except Albania are involved in the review of compliance with the Helsinki accords.
The end of the conference has been postponed twice and is now set for April. Bauer indicated summer would be a more realistic deadline.
He rejected claims by the East that the West’s proposed resolutions on freedom of travel, emigration, religion and rights of minority cultures are too severe.
Victor Shikalov, who spoke on behalf of the Soviet delegation, said that the Soviet Union had implemented a number of measures ″covering practically all the fields of the life of our society (which) are directed at the practical implementation of the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act.″