President Reagan will both commend Mikhail Gorbachev on "positive steps" on human rights and challenge the Soviet leader to do more when they meet next week in New York, White House national security adviser Colin Powell said Friday.
Powell said the president also will underline the importance of continued progress in the superpower relationship when Vice President George Bush assumes the presidency Jan. 20.Powell stressed Reagan will not raise new initiatives during his fifth face-to-face meeting with Gorbachev. The session will essentially be a "review of where we are" and how Bush and Gorbachev can nurture the improving relations between Moscow and Washington, he said.
"We have no new major proposals to put down on the table," Powell said and added that if Gorbachev has any new ideas "we'll listen carefully."
Powell also said he did not expect Bush and Gorbachev to set a date for a future summit meeting during the Governors Island conference. Both sides want "to keep the relationship moving," he said, "but calendars are going to be heavy on both sides" early next year.
Bush will be making the transition to the White House, confronting a stubborn budget deficit, and Gorbachev will be consolidating support for his sweeping reform proposals and dealing with unrest in ethnic and Baltic Soviet republics.