News In Brief

UN chief visits Iran to discuss Persian Gulf war

UN Secretary-General Javier P'erez de Cu'ellar arrived here Sunday to discuss Iran's position on its 41/2-year war with Iraq. He is not expected to offer specific proposals on ending it. Mr. P'erez de Cu'ellar, who also plans to visit Baghdad, Iraq, had said that he would only visit the warring countries' capitals if he could discuss all aspects of the conflict.

Iran indicated that it was interested only in discussing limited cease-fire agreements rather than a comprehensive negotiated settlement. Iraq refuses to discuss anything but a comprehensive settlement to the Persian Gulf war.

US congressional delegation visits Moscow for 5 days

A high-level US congressional delegation arrived in Moscow Sunday for a five-day visit and a possible meeting with new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. House Speaker Thomas O'Neill heads the 13-member group which was invited by Soviet parliamentarians who visited the United States earlier this year.

O'Neill told reporters at a Moscow airport that the delegation was on a peace mission adding that the group hoped to find the new Soviet leadership shared their goals.

China agrees to buy arms, weapons training from Italy

China and Italy signed a ground-breaking accord Sunday to boost Italian arms sales to the Chinese and provide training in advanced weapons systems. The framework accord, which western military attaches said was the first such Chinese agreement with a Western nation, calls for China to buy a wide range of Italian military equipment but does not commit Peking to specific arms deals.

China sends negotiating team to Moscow for renewed talks

China's negotiating team left Sunday for Moscow for the sixth round of Sino-Soviet normalization talks. China still demands that the Soviet Union stop support for Vietnam, reduce troop and missile levels along the Chinese border, and get out of Afghanistan before full ties are resumed.

Meanwhile, a Soviet friendship delegation began a tour of China on Friday.

China to give UNESCO $600,000 in financial aid

China has reaffirmed its support for UNESCO and will present the organization with $600,000 to help it to overcome its present financial difficulties, the New China News Agency said Sunday. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has been strongly criticized by several Western nations in its use of funds. The United States has pulled out of the organization.

Leaders of some Crossroads squatters agree to move

Leaders of about half of some 100,000 black squatters in the Crossroads shantytown accepted a revised government offer to move to a new township, the South African Press Association reported Saturday. The agreement came after the white-minority government promised that those who accepted the offer would not be forced to move back to tribal homelands for at least 18 months. That represented a major break from the previous policy that squatters illegally occupying sites in the Cape Town area would have to return to the homelands.

India, Pakistan reaffirm goal of normalizing ties

A senior Indian official ended two days of talks with Pakistani officials Saturday, with both sides saying they agreed to take measures to strengthen cooperation and create mutual trust. Indian Foreign Secretary Romesh Bhandari arrived here Thursday to resume deadlocked talks aimed at normalizing relations between the two countries, which have fought three wars since their independence in 1947.

Pope John Paul II decries violence of past 40 years

Pope John Paul II, in his Easter Sunday message, decried the human-rights violations, wars, and ``ideologies that instill hatred'' that he says have plagued the world in the 40 years since the end of World War II. More than 200,000 people jammed St. Peter's Square for the Mass and address, while tens of thousands more marched through Rome to the Vatican in a protest against hunger.

Thatcher proclaims new era in relations with Malaysia

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher proclaimed a new era in relations with Malaysia Sunday at the end of an official visit here. Mrs. Thatcher told a news conference here that the first official visit by a British leader since Malaysia gained independence in 1957 was long overdue, valuable, and enjoyable.

Independence movements to appeal to UN for aid

Independence movements from France's widely dispersed overseas territories plan to ask the United Nations to help them end French rule. Groups from territories in the Caribbean, Pacific, and Indian Oceans agreed here Saturday to ask the UN Committee on Decolonization to add them to a list of the world's last non-autonomous territories.

Texas cities hold elections for mayor and city offices

Henry Cisneros, the first Hispanic mayor of San Antonio, defeated five challengers to win a third term Saturday, while Dallas Mayor A. Starke Taylor won a second term. Mr. Cisneros gained national attention last year when he was interviewed as a possible Democratic vice presidential candidate.


A photo of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge appearing on Page 5 of the April 5 edition was misidentified as the Golden Gate Bridge. The Monitor regrets the error.

Gorbachev announces freeze on SS-20s in Europe

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has launched what appears to be a ``peace initiative'' designed to increase pressure on the Reagan administration. Mr. Gorbachev said this country will observe, until November, a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate-range missiles and halt what he called ``countermeasures'' to the stationing of United States-supplied cruise and Pershing II missiles in Western Europe.

He called upon the United States to halt further deployments of those missiles.

Gorbachev proposed other moratoriums for the duration of the Geneva talks on arms control.

The Soviet leader said that he wants a moratorium on ``the development, including research, testing, and deployment'' of space-based defense systems. The reference was to the Reagan administration's Strategic Defense Initiative, popularly known as ``star wars.'' And he repeated a long-standing call for a ``freeze'' on all strategic nuclear weapons.

The specific moratorium on missile deployments is a new move, although it's reminiscent of an earlier Soviet moratorium on SS-20 missiles that lapsed when new US missiles were deployed in Western Europe. The rest of the initiatives appear to be restatements of earlier Soviet positions.

US analysts say the moratorium on missile deployments will have little practical impact, since the Soviets have steadily deployed new missiles over the past 18 months until the number of medium-range SS-20 missiles targeted on Western Europe now exceeds 400.

Thus, the moratorium appears to be aimed at increasing pressure on the Reagan administration to make some sort of concessions to the Soviets.

Gorbachev says that if US leaders really favor ``radical reductions of armaments,'' then they will first ``put a brake on the arms race'' and then seek reductions. The latest proposals, he claims, are an example of ``our goodwill.''

The Soviet leader also said that he has a ``positive attitude'' toward a possible summit meeting with President Reagan.

The time time and place for such a meeting are yet to be arranged.

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