Soviet Leader Goes to Bulgaria with Top Leaders
MOSCOW (AP) _ Communist Party chief Mikhail S. Gorbachev and other top Soviet leaders left today for a Warsaw Pact summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, the official news agency Tass reported.
The summit, formally a meeting of the seven-nation pact’s political consultative committee, was expected to endorse Soviet arms control proposals in advance of Gorbachev’s scheduled meeting next month in Geneva with President Reagan.
Tass said Gorbachev was accompanied by President Andrei A. Gromyko, Premier Nikolai A. Ryzhkov, Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze, Defense Minister Sergei L. Sokolov, party Secretary Konstantin V. Rusakov and Boris I. Aristov, the newly appointed minister of foreign trade.
Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Lomeiko, in a television interview in Sofia, said nuclear arms reductions, a ban on space weapons and a renewal of detente with the West would be the main summit topics.
″These central issues, which we may say weigh heavily on mankind, have to be resolved, and the political consultative committee, which stands for the wisdom and experience of all socialist countries, will doubtlessly greatly contribute to the elaboration of the ways to the resolution of these issues,″ Lomeiko said, as paraphrased in English by the official news agency BTA.
No schedule for the summit was published, but Bulgarian officials said privately they expected the session to begin Tuesday.
The meeting originally was scheduled for January but was called off, apparently because Gorbachev’s predecessor, Konstantin Chernenko, was in poor health.
The Political Consultative Committee, the bloc’s top policy-making body, held its last formal session in Prague in 1983.
The Communist Party chiefs and heads of govenment of the bloc countries met April 26 in Warsaw to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the alliance and extend its life for another 20 years.