News In Brief

US moves closer to talks with Soviets on space arms

The Reagan administration moved a step closer Tuesday to talks with the Soviet Union on space-based weapons, handing the Soviets its version of a proposed joint announcement of those talks.

While the contents of the US communique weren't disclosed, it was the best evidence yet that the two sides are drawing near on the framework for the talks, first proposed by Moscow and scheduled to begin Sept. 18 in Vienna.

Meanwhile in Geneva, the Soviet Union dismissed US efforts to forge a new treaty banning chemical weapons and yesterday issued a counterproposal that verification and inspection of chemical weapons stocks be decided by consensus.

The proposal by Soviet Ambassador Viktor L. Issraelyan to the UN Conference on Disarmament was immediately criticized by a Western diplomat, who said consensus decisionmaking would stymie enforcement, allowing the superpowers vetoes similar to those that often paralyze the UN Security Council.

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