A senior US diplomat said there was increasing talk of bypassing Malta if it continued to block a final accord at the European security conference. Malta has stalled agreement on the final document since July 15 by exploiting the rule of consensus that governs all European Security and Cooperation gatherings. The Maltese are holding out, in defiance of both the US and the Soviet Union, for a follow-up conference on Mediterranean security involving all countries of the area.
The US is opposed in principle to a consensus of the remaining 34 nations, said Edward Killham, acting chief of the US delegation. Such a move could create a dangerous precedent and is likely to be resisted except as a last resort.