Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson left for Moscow Saturday on what he called a fact-finding mission to raise aid for Armenian earthquake victims and determine the state of human rights in the Soviet Union.
"It's really a mission to find out what we can do," Jackson told Reuters. "We've indicated we want to help in some way to rebuild churches and schools and hospitals and some of the villages."Many people are concerned that the support is targeted and not caught in any way in a bureaucratic (tangle)," he said.
Jackson, who ran unsuccessfully for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, said he had been scheduled to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during the Kremlin leader's visit to the United States last month. That visit was cut short when Gorbachev flew home after a massive earthquake hit Armenia, killing more than 25,000 people.
Jackson said he plans to meet with Soviet officials, including the minister of culture, and religious leaders.
Jackson said he believed the Soviet Union has become more open to improving human rights as relations improve with the United States.