The chief of the Soviet military staff, Gen. Mikhail Moiseyev, made a landmark visit to NATO headquarters and called for a "Europe free of military blocs."
Moiseyev met Thursday with the 16 NATO chiefs of staff, who were assembled to draft the alliance's post-Cold War strategy at a meeting of the NATO Military Committee."It was a very lively, open and frank exchange of views," said the chairman of the Military Committee, Norwegian Gen. Vigleik Eide.
Moiseyev arrived in Belgium Wednesday and was to meet Friday with NATO's European commander, U.S. Gen. John Galvin, at the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers of Europe.
"My vision of Europe is a Europe free from military blocs," Moiseyev told reporters Thursday before leaving the NATO compound, where workers pressed against window panes to glimpse the distinctive brown and red uniforms of the Soviet military leader and his entourage.
The Soviet-led Warsaw Pact has been rapidly collapsing since the Berlin Wall was first breached last November.
"We are threatening to no one," Moiseyev said. "The substance of our defensive military doctrine has been clearly laid out. We are not training our armed forces to attack anyone."
Eide said the Soviet military chief "expressed some doubt whether the present alliance system can continue. Given the changes in the Warsaw Pact, they have some concerns about NATO continuing.
"He's entitled to his view," Eide said, "but the future of NATO will be decided by 16 sovereign nations, and if they want NATO to continue it will continue."
Eide said the Military Committee's session with Moiseyev was "a meeting between professionals who can discuss matters in an open and friendly way."
"It's a risky world with a lot of instability," the Norwegian general said. "We discussed the need for cooperation on security issues."
They discussed the gulf crisis only briefly.
"He reiterated his view," Eide said, "that the situation should be resolved by peaceful means without fighting a war."
Eide said that despite the warming of relations between NATO and the Soviet Union, "it's no secret that the Soviets will continue to be a military superpower" and some differences will continue.
"If we should have this greater cooperation, we will have to cross through troubled water to get there," he said. "It's a step-by-step process."