The Foreign Ministers of the seven-nations Warsaw Pact are meeting in Hungary's capital, Budapest for their annual conference.
The Foreign Ministers of the seven-nations Warsaw Pact are meeting in Hungary's capital, Budapest for their annual conference. Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko is expected to explain the new SALT II agreement with the United States, due to be signed in vienna on June 15th. Annual conferences of the Warsaw Pact Foreign Ministers began three years ago with the announced aim of giving smaller member-states a stronger voice in alliance policies.
SYNOPSIS: The Ministers of the seven Warsaw Pact Nations began meeting on Monday (14 May) behind closed doors, and officials said nothing would be disclosed until the end of the two-day session. This is usual practice at Warsaw Pact meetings.
Informed sources said the Ministers were mapping out Pact strategy in what the Kremlin sees as a new phase in East-West relations, following agreement last week on a second-stage treaty to limit American and Soviet nuclear weapons.
The Middle East, Moscow's continuing feud with China, and the deadlocked East-West negotiations on balanced troop reductions in central Europe are also reported to be on the conference agenda. The troop reduction talks are scheduled to resume in Vienna on Thursday (17 May) after a five-week recess.
The United States Department said last week that the Soviet Union had recently submitted some ideas on how to break the stalemate in these nineteen nation talks, but no details have been released.
Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko was understood to have briefed his counterpart on the implications of the SALT II accord, which is expected to be signed by President Carter and soviet President Leonid Brezhnev in Vienna in mid June.
The Ministers' meeting is their first combined session for thirteen months and it coincides with one of the biggest ever Warsaw Pact army manoeuvres due to being in Hungary on Wednesday (16 May).
The Minister's meeting is said to be not connected with the manoeuvres.