Secretary of State James Baker announced Tuesday he will travel to Moscow in early May to discuss resuming the Geneva arms talks but said the United States is not ready to set a date for the next superpower summit.
Baker, emerging from a two-hour meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, described his first private session with the Soviet minister as "quite substantive" and "conducted in a positive atmosphere."The two met for an hour alone before being joined by their delegations for the second hour.
Baker said they discussed a wide range of issues, including arms control, Middle East peace efforts and the growing international crisis caused by Iran's death decree against British writer Salman Rushdie.
Baker said he planned to meet with Soviet leaders in Moscow in May to continue the talks but said, "The U.S. is not ready as yet to set a date for the next meeting" between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Bush.
"At that meeting in Moscow we probably will be able to reach agreement on the date of resuming (Geneva) negotiations on nuclear and space arms," Shevardnadze told reporters. "We will also discuss in Moscow the prospects for a summit meeting."
Baker said that the reduction of nuclear missiles and chemical weapons were "shared interests" that would be high on the agenda in Moscow.
The Baker-Shevardnadze talks were considered crucial to the success of the Conventional Forces in Europe negotiations, which resume in Vienna Thursday and will include discussion of reductions in tanks, artillery and troop carriers.
But Shevardnadze said he was disappointed that those talks would not include tactical nuclear weapons, aircraft or naval forces. "They should be considered as something more than secondary," he said.