Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing arrived here Sunday for the first meeting between the Kremlin chief and a key Western leader since last December's Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. The two Presidents were scheduled to begin talks today (May 19).
Mr. Brezhnev was accompanied by his foreign minister, Andrei Gromyko; Mr. Giscard d'Estaing had with him his foreign minister, Jean Francois-Poncet. The official news agency PAP said the two leaders were coming at the invitation of Polish leader Edward Gierek.
The Moscow-led Warsaw Pact alliance pledged last week after meeting here that it was willing to open talks with all nations and demonstrate that the Kremlin was anxious to cultivate the highest contacts with Western Europe at a time of strained relations with the United States over Afghanistan.
Diplomats here said it would be difficult for Mr. Brezhnev, making his third sortie from Moscow in under two weeks, to go home empty-handed amid his efforts to reassure the West over Afghanistan and to save the Moscow Olympics, hit by a US-led boycott. They said it would be equally damaging for the prestige of the French President, who has favored keeping a door open to dialogue with the Soviet bloc, if he failed to win any concessions for the West.