Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze charged today that U.S. proposals for reducing nuclear arsenals, including intermediate-range missiles in Europe, show that Washington "is clearly unwilling" to reach an agreement.
Reiterating Moscow's call for a ban on nuclear testing, Shevardnadze also said in an interview with the Polish news agency PAP that the U.S. reply had been "an invitation to take part in a summer season of nuclear tests in Nevada. Such a show is not necessary either for us or for mankind."
The Soviet official made his statements during a meeting in Warsaw of foreign ministers of the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Bloc military alliance. Tonight, the ministers issued a communique reiterating the position of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that a new summit meeting between Gorbachev and President Reagan this year "should focus on arriving at concrete agreements on the arms race."
The communique added that "the meeting might achieve agreements at least on the discontinuation of nuclear weapons testing and on the liquidation of Soviet and American intermediate-range missiles in Europe."
Shevardnadze said that Washington had "artificially" raised the question of Soviet short-range tactical nuclear arms in Europe. He said this stance ignored the Soviet position that such tactical weapons would be withdrawn when the problem of intermediate-range missiles was concluded.
He argued that the U.S. had sought to exclude French and British intermediate-range missiles from an agreement "as if they were a trifle," but "they remain silent when I asked if the forces would remain small."