Warsaw Pact defense ministers held a one-day meeting in Sofia on Saturday, their first since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev announced sweeping cuts in troops and tanks earlier this month.
The official Bulgarian news agency BTA said the ministers discussed comparative troop and weapons levels in the Warsaw Pact and NATO, and adopted a declaration to be published later.The meeting was held "in a businesslike atmosphere, in a spirit of friendship and mutual understanding," the agency said.
It was their first meeting since Gorbachev's announcement that Soviet forces would be cut by 500,000 in two years, and that six tank divisions and 50,000 men would be withdrawn from East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
Soviet arms control chief and deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Karpov said in Moscow Thursday that the tanks withdrawn would include both old and new models. His statement was seen as a response to fears expressed by some NATO officials that the effect of the move could be diminished if it involved only old equipment.
Although Moscow's allies have publicly supported the move, diplomats said some East Bloc military leaders might have reservations.
In Czechoslovakia, Communist Party leader Milos Jakes went out of his way to dispel any suggestions that the 80,000 Soviet troops stationed in his country were there for domestic reasons.
In East Germany, where 380,000 Soviet troops and 11 tank divisions are stationed, diplomats reported no signs of official nervousness. With 50,000 troops to be pulled back from three countries, East Germany would still be left with well over 300,000, they noted.