Work on a medium-range and shorter-range missile agreement can be concluded in the next two months - provided the United States responds to Moscow's concessions with some of its own, a senior Soviet official said yesterday. Speaking at a Moscow press conference, Yuli Vorontsov, the Soviet first deputy foreign minister and chief negotiator at the Geneva arms negotiations, said that the agreement could then be signed at a US-Soviet summit.
He implied that US negotiators had held out the possibility of a quid pro quo arrangement on concessions.
At the same conference, Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, the Soviet chief of staff, listed four areas where Moscow wanted concessions from the US.
The US should agree to destroy, not adapt, its missiles. This was a reference to the US plan to ``build down'' its Pershing 2 medium-range missiles to Pershing 1-B short-range weapons, not covered by the treaty.
The 72 US-held warheads on West German Pershing 1-B missiles should be included in the arms agreement. Marshal Akhromeyev said that the US had originated the call for the destruction of all shorter-range missiles. The US was now ``going back on its word'' by refusing to include the US-owned warheads. The actual body of the missiles is West German property and would not be included in the treaty, the Soviet officials stressed.
The US should not try to gain a ``one-sided advantage'' while the missiles are being eliminated. The Soviets say that missile destruction should take place simultaneously; they complain that the US wants the Soviets to start destroying its missiles first.
``Real and equal verification.'' Viktor Karpov, the Foreign Ministry's main disarmament specialist, said the Soviet Union would insist on access to bases where missiles were based - including US bases in third countries - as well as bases where missiles were not now situated but ``where we have reasons to suspect that missiles could be based'' - such as transshipment areas.