Soviets not prepared to give up on proposed summit over nuclear test ban
The Kremlin has signaled that it won't easily take no for an answer to its call for a meeting between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to work out an end to nuclear testing. Soviet First Deputy Foreign Minister Georgi Kornienko, in a Tuesday press conference, said the Kremlin's intention was not that ``this meeting, if it were to be held, would supplant the summit meeting [in the United States] which had been agreed to at Geneva.''
But, at the same time, he refused to set a date for a summit in the US.
``We do not believe it feasible to set a date if we do not know what will come of it,'' said Mr. Kornienko, adding ``we should be sure of the constructive outcome of such a meeting'' before scheduling one.
Kornienko said ``We would not like to believe that Mr. Reagan has said his final word'' about a meeting to plan an agreement banning nuclear tests.
But, he added, recent US actions -- such as the conflict with Libya and the continuing drive to aid anti-Sandinista ``contra'' rebels in Nicaragua -- are viewed here ``as defiant and provocative indeed.''
Kornienko also rejected US Secretary of State George Shultz call for ``quiet diplomacy'' to work out differences between the superpowers.
``It's up to us to decide which proposals should be made public and which would be made through diplomatic channels,'' he said, adding that the US played a one-sided ``game'' by selectively choosing when to engage in public diplomacy while trying to deny the Soviets that same right.
Kornienko said that Mr. Gorbachev's call late last week for a European meeting with President Reagan had been transmitted through diplomatic channels, but conceded that was only after it had already been aired in a Soviet television address.
He said that a special Soviet delegation empowered to negotiate a ban on nuclear testing was already in Geneva, and that he harbored a ``hope'' that the White House would eventually respond positively to the proposal. But he admitted that there were no clear indications that the initial White House rejection of the offer would change.