Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev tonight disputed Reagan administration statements that the United States and the Soviet Union are about to begin low-level talks on limiting medium-range nuclear weapons in Western Europe.
The Soviet Communist Party chief was quoted by the official Tass news agency as saying that U.S. government disclosures about imminent talks "unfortunately are mere words. I can say quite definitely not a single real step has been [made by] the United States so far since the present administration came to power to continue, even on a preliminary basis, discussion of the essence of these questions." Tass said Brezhnev made the comments at a banquet honoring Algerian President Chadli Benjedid.
Last weekend, State Department officials said bilateral talks with Soviet Embassy staff in Washington would start soon. The Soviets have demanded that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization reverse its decision to deploy advanced cruise and Pershing missiles talks on medium-range weapons.
Brezhnev accused the United States of "delaying on various pretexts the beginning of a discussion, while we, for our part, are prepared for it at any time."
Brezhnev said the Soviets "do not seek a confrontation with the U.S.A., we do not encroach upon America's legitimate interests." He said the West is "whipping up hatred for the socialist countries," persecuting liberation movements and fostering a "bloody wave of terrorism by right-wing extremists . . . to destabilize political life, suppress democracy and [bring] to power the most reactionary dictatorial regimes" in target countries.