Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze said on Friday they had made progress on issues blocking the start of conventional arms negotiations.
But Shultz said that after two days of talks, the two ministers had not made any substantial advancement on resolving differences over the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and reducing strategic nuclear weapons.The United States and its allies have demanded that negotiations on reducing conventional arms in Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals be predicated on Soviet progress in human rights.
At a press conference, Shultz said the Soviets had indicated they planned to implement laws and official decrees to improve human rights.
The "discussions lead me to feel . . . that we see substantial enough progress to make it quite possible that we'll be able to bring the Vienna meeting (where the conventional arms mandate and human rights are under discussion) to a balanced outcome before long," Shultz said.
Shevardnadze, who met reporters outside the White House after meeting President Reagan, also was optimistic.
While acknowledging that the decision on a mandate for those talks must be ultimately decided in Vienna, he said during the two days of meetings the U.S. and Soviet positions "have become closer on the mandate of future negotiations."
Shultz said there was also some movement on one of two treaties limiting nuclear testing.
He predicted there was a "reasonable prospect" that new verification protocols for that treaty and a related one could be completed in time to send them to the U.S. Senate for ratification before Reagan leaves office in January.