Moscow — Communists delay summit because of Andropov
A long-awaited economic summit meeting of communist leaders has been delayed indefinitely, East European sources said Thursday. Informed sources said leaders of the 10-nation Comecon trading alliance had provisionally agreed to meet in the first half of February but that this proposal has now been shelved. The sources said an agenda had already been drawn up for the summit and the only cause of the delay was Soviet President Yuri Andropov's inability to attend.
The Kremlin leader has not been seen in public in five months and both Western and East-bloc diplomats believe he has a relatively serious ailment.
The last Comecon summit was held in 1971. Sources said most East European embassies now took the view that the summit would probably be delayed several months - despite a prediction by Pravda editor in chief Viktor Afanasyev that Mr. Andropov would appear in public before the end of this month.