The date of a U.S.-Soviet summit scheduled for January may have to be changed because of the Persian Gulf crisis, the official Tass news agency said Saturday.
Tass said Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze would leave Sunday for talks with Secretary of State James Baker in Houston and the two would discuss the summit between Mikhail Gorbachev and President Bush."The two presidents were scheduled to meet in January 1991," Tass said. "However, certain complications arose recently, connected primarily with the gulf crisis, which can affect the choice of the date for the summit."
Tass noted Bush will be sending Baker to Baghdad and Bush is to meet Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz in Washington in an attempt to get Iraq to leave Kuwait, which it invaded Aug. 2 and has occupied since.
Iraq told U.S. officials Saturday it wanted Aziz to visit Washington on Dec. 17 and for Baker to meet Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in Baghdad on Jan. 12.
Aziz, meanwhile, has reportedly said the U.S. State Department had proposed he come to Washington Dec. 20-22 and Baker go to the Iraqi capital on Jan. 3.
The timing of Aziz's talks in Washington and Baker's discussions in Baghdad would appear to rule out a January summit in Moscow because of the planning required for superpower get-togethers.
Tass said Shevardnadze and Baker would hold three days of talks and that at the end of discussions, the Soviet foreign minister would meet Bush in Washington on Dec. 12.
It said the Baker-Shevardnadze talks were taking place in Houston for the "very good resons" of conducting such deliberations "far from the madding crowds."
Tass noted Shevardnadze recently said that meetings "far from capitals and other major cities enable one to concentrate on problems under discussion. One works better under such conditions."