Soviet Foreign Minister Adrei Gromyko ended his first visit to a Western country since his country's invasion of Afghanistan by saying that it is "difficult to find differences between our position and the French position."
This statement at a two-hour press conference at the Soviet Embassy met with the insistence of a French Foreign Ministry spokesman that there are "fundamental differences."
French officials have stressed that President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Foreign Minister Jean Francois-Poncet have been pressing the Soviets to withdraw from Afghanistan, while the Soviets have accented all the points of agreement between the two countries.
A brief joint communique confined itself to saying, "Each party expressed its views on the Afghanistan affair."
Gromyko, was appeared to be pleased with his visit, said the "so-called Afghanistan question" has been artifically inflated" and that Soviet troops will leave that country only when "aggression" from Pakistan has ceased.
Gromyko said the armed aggression comes from "dozens" of training camps in Pakistan where Afghan rebels are "systematically" armed and trained by representatives of a power he did not name but clearly implied was the United States. "More than anyone," he said, the United States knows the sites of the camps.
Their existence, he said, "justifies" the presence of the Soviet contingent in Afghanistan. "There is a possibility of solving the Afghanistan problem," he said, adding that withdrawal of the Soviet forces cand be discussed once "outside interference" has ceased.