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East bloc to push arms offer?

By a staff correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor / January 5, 1983



Bonn

A Jan. 4-5 Warsaw Pact summit in Prague is expected to promote the latest Soviet Euromissile arms-control offer. But beyond that Western diplomats have received no clues from their East European counterparts about the import of the meeting.

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The Soviet-bloc party leaders are meeting multilaterally at the summit for the first time since the death of Leonid Brezhnev. New Soviet party General Secretary Yuri Andropov has met with each of the other leaders bilaterally, however, first at the Brezhnev funeral and second at the December celebrations in Moscow of the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union.

Western observers are waiting to see if Mr. Andropov will use the Prague summit meeting as a forum to elaborate somewhat on his arms-control offer to bring the number of missiles in the European part of the Soviet Union down to the number of currently deployed French and British missiles, if the US forgoes planned deployments in Europe of cruise and Pershing II missiles.

In particular, they want to see if he will specify what he would do with missiles removed from the European part of the Soviet Union - whether he would pledge to destroy them or would merely remove these mobile missiles to other parts of the Soviet Union.

Intra-bloc affairs do not generally enter into Warsaw Pact communiques or other public statements, however.