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NATO now views Kremlin as reluctant to talk arms

Senior NATO officials, in a sharp shift, have concluded it is highly unlikely that there will be any superpower nuclear arms control talks this year. The officials, who asked not to be identified, also said it was unrealistic to expect the Soviet Union to return, even in a more distant future, to talks on the specific issue of medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe.

Their view, broadly shared at a NATO consultative meeting here this week on medium-range nuclear missiles, was based on recent public and private pronouncements by Soviet officials.

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In Moscow Thursday, the Kremlin denied reports in the West that Moscow and Washington were maintaining unofficial contacts over the issue of nuclear missiles.

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