In a Paris summit that will be one of the largest gathering of world leaders in history, President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev will sign three agreements designed to officially end the Cold War.
The Nov. 19-21 Paris summit of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe will be a personal triumph for the two superpower leaders, but it will also be a satisfying moment for CSCE countries, who started the Cold War thaw with the Helsinki Agreement 15 years ago.That treaty, addressing border issues in Europe and insisting on the respect for human rights, was the breakthrough that led to the collapse of communism, which was symbolized by the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.
The centerpiece of the Paris summit will be the signing of three documents:
- A Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, sharply reducing the numbers of tanks, troops, artillery and aircraft in Central Europe. The treaty, to be signed by members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, will cut most sharply into the Warsaw Pact forces, since they were most numerous to begin with and because the eastern alliance is in a state of collapse.
Bush made U.S. participation in the Paris summit contingent on the final agreement on the CFE treaty. After some final problems were resolved last month, the treaty is now being completed in Vienna.
- A non-aggression pact, in which the 22 nations belonging to NATO and the Warsaw Pact, pledge "never to be the first to use force" against the other alliance or countries within the alliances.
According to U.S. officials, the agreement is mostly important to Eastern European countries, such as Hungary and Romania. That is because they have more to fear from each other from nationality disputes than they do from the Western military alliance.
- A document charting the future of CSCE, setting up a small secretariat in Prague and establishing a Conflict Prevention Center in Vienna, sort of a multinational hot line, in which the 34 members states will exchange information about their military maneuvers and other actions which might trigger suspicion in the part of other states.
Briefing reporters at the White House, Baker said, "The gathering in Paris will embody in microcosm the new Europe that is still in the process of evolving - its various actors, its institutions and its concerns."