The United States and Soviet Union have overcome a final obstacle to an agreement on military force cuts in Europe, clearing the way for a European summit in Paris next month, diplomats said.
The diplomats, meeting under the umbrella of the 35-nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, said Monday the superpowers had resolved a dispute over types and numbers of aircraft that could be based in Central Europe.The breakthrough should tie up the last major loose end of East-West negotiations on Conventional Forces in Europe, known as CFE. It could be announced Wednesday after talks between Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.
Baker and Shevardnadze, who cleared away some of the last technical underbrush of the proposed CFE accord last week, hope to seal that deal and attack lingering obstacles to a separate agreement on cuts in strategic nuclear weapons at their meeting Wednesday.
After reviewing the arms control agenda Monday with President Bush in New York, Shevardnadze said it was "quite realistic" to expect the CFE pact to be signed at the CSCE summit in Paris.