KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE, AUG. 31 -- The White House said today it had nothing to announce in response to speculation of a meeting next week between President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, but neither did it issue an official denial of the rumors.
"We have nothing to announce," deputy White House spokesman Roman Popadiuk said when asked to comment on rumors circulating in Moscow that a superpower summit would occur Sept. 8 in Helsinki, Finland.
"We're looking at a lot of things. We have nothing to announce," White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater said later. He refused to elaborate or to say if any announcement might be forthcoming.
But the White House, after shutting down its press office for the Labor Day weekend, late tonight unexpectedly scheduled an announcement here Saturday morning.
Bush and Gorbachev last met in Washington May 30 to June 3.
Bush and Gorbachev are not thought to have spoken since the outset of the Persian Gulf crisis a month ago, but Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze have spoken several times.
White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu was in Moscow this week at Gorbachev's invitation to advise him on streamlining policy making in the Kremlin.
Sununu and several top White House aides are in London on their way back from the weeklong Moscow visit and are scheduled to arrive Saturday in the United States. The trip had been planned before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait Aug. 2 and before the United States became involved in subsequent events in the Persian Gulf area.
The two superpowers issued a joint condemnation of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait at the outset of the crisis in early August. The statement was issued in Moscow after conversations between Baker and Shevardnadze.