Communist Party leader Milos Jakes said the 70,000 Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia could be withdrawn if East and West agree to cut forces on both sides, the party daily Rude Pravo reported Saturday.
Jakes said his country is interested in "taking concrete steps to limit conventional weaponry and military troops" between the NATO and Warsaw Pact, but he failed to elaborate on what measures he had in mind, the newspaper quoted him as saying."While preserving military balance on a much lower level it would be possible, according to our opinion, to solve the question of Soviet troops' presence in Czechoslovakia," Jakes said, without elaborating.
A senior Hungarian official said in September that some of the 65,000 Soviet troops in Hungary could be pulled back under an East-West agreement, but said it was likely the Hungarians would continue to need Soviet air defense.
Thirty-five nations who signed the 1975 Helsinki Act, including the United States, Canada, the Soviet Union and all European nations except Albania, are meeting in Vienna and expect to endorse a mandate for new talks on conventional force reduction in Europe.