Gorbachev Prepares Case for G-7's London Summit Soviet Leader Is Expected to Reduce Request for Large-Scale Aid

By Daniel Sneider, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, July 8, 1991 | Go to article overview

Gorbachev Prepares Case for G-7's London Summit Soviet Leader Is Expected to Reduce Request for Large-Scale Aid


Daniel Sneider, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


SOVIET leader Mikhail Gorbachev conducted a dress rehearsal Friday for his summit meeting in two weeks with Western leaders in London. And he had a sympathetic audience - German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, unarguably Moscow's friend in court.

Mr. Kohl emerged from a five-hour meeting outside the Ukrainian capital of Kiev with a pledge to support Soviet requests for Western economic backing. And Mr. Gorbachev took the occasion to warn that the only alternative to the success of his policies is the kind of civil war threatening to tear apart nearby Yugoslavia.

"The events (in Yugoslavia) are a lesson for all the peoples of the Soviet Union, and also a warning," Gorbachev told reporters. "What is happening now should make everybody understand that it is necessary to pursue the road of renewal and not disintegration."

Gorbachev's "warning" was aimed largely at the nationalist republics who still resist signing the draft treaty of union finalized last month. Six of the country's 15 republics have refused to sign. But more troublesome is the insistence from the powerful Ukrainian and Russian governments on even more concessions of power to the republics before they will endorse the document.

Gorbachev is also subtly pressuring the West for support with the threat of the country's and his own political demise.

He is hard at work on his July 17 presentation to the Group of Seven summit of industrialized nations in London.

Contrary to earlier reports, senior Gorbachev aides say the Soviet leader will not present a full economic reform program in London. Instead, Gorbachev will give a detailed speech based on various economic reform programs, including the government's current "anticrisis" plan.

"There will be a gist of the president's understanding of the processes taking place both inside the country and in the outside world," Gorbachev aide Yevgeny Primakov said.

The senior aide rejected the charges from conservative Communists that Gorbachev will be selling the country to the capitalists and the expectations of those who believe that large amounts of Western aid will be forthcoming.

According to reports, Gorbachev spent more than three hours of his meeting with Kohl "rehearsing" his London arguments. Kohl's aides, according to Reuters, say the chancellor gave Gorbachev "tips" on how to deal with individual G-7 leaders.

Rather than government aid, Gorbachev is emphasizing foreign direct investment, with limited assistance tied directly to market moves. Gorbachev reportedly told Kohl that he will bring a list of projects needing foreign capital, including oil and gas production and modernization of nuclear power plants. The Soviet parliament gave final approval last week to a law on foreign investment which allows 100 percent foreign-owned subsidiaries to operate here.

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