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Gromyko fires at US in UN talk

By With Analysis From Monitor Correspondents Around The World, Edited by Mark Muth / September 23, 1981



United nations, N.Y.

Andrei A. Gromyko, the Soviet foreign minister, gave a fighting speech at the UN General Assembly Sept. 22, special correspondent Louis Wiznitzer reports. Undeterred by the unexpectedly muted tones of Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. the day before, Mr. Gromyko lashed out at what he called the Reagan administration's "aggressive policies," while stressing his own country's commitment to peace.

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One senior European diplomat said Gromyko did not want to "let Mr. Haig get away with seeming reasonable to his European allies and wanted to keep focusing on the belligerant character of the Reagan administration."

As proof of the "bellicose mood" of the United States, Gromyko cited:

* The "massacre perpetrated in San Salvador," implying US involvement.

* The "armed provocation" against Libya.

* The unrestrained "arms race worshiped by the ruling quarters of some NATO countries."

He called for the resumption of SALT talks but was careful to relate discussions on medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe with US forward-based nuclear systems. He again mentioned Soviet willingness to agree to a mutual reduction of medium-range weapons in Europe, but did not advance any complete proposals on the subject.

He hinted at the possibility of an agreement on Afghanistan: "A political settlement must ensure the termination of armed and other interference in the affairs of Afghanistan."

Diplomats here think the statement is too vague in its present form to indicate whether it expresses a desire by the USSR to extricate itself from Afghanistan or is just a propaganda ploy.