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EC president turns deaf ear to Soviet republics

By JAMES ROSEN

MOSCOW -- European Community chief Jacques Delors scorned the independence aspirations of Soviet republics Friday and reaffirmed the West's support for President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Delors, on the first official visit to Moscow by a president of the commission of the European Community, indicated that the country's growing ranks of rebellious republics will receive a cold shoulder from the EC in their bid to establish separate contacts with international organizations.

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'We respect the sovereignty and the political situation in every country, including the Soviet Union,' Delors said.

'President Gorbachev has announced a constitutional reform that is a new distribution of political and economic power from the center to the republics. At present we recognize only the Soviet Union.'

As Delors briefed reporters on the results of his three-day trip to Moscow, Gorbachev summoned his top advisers for a meeting on how to accelerate the country's movement toward a market economy and the creation of a new federation based on a union of sovereign states.

'A transition to a regulated market economy and development of the new union treaty are two sides of the same coin,' the official Tass news agency quoted Gorbachev as having told his President Council.

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Delors sharply criticized the recent declaration by the giant Ukraine and similar earlier moves by the Baltic republics to establish their own currencies and take other steps to cut their connections with Moscow.

'In any federation that I know of, the problems of finance, security and the army are the prerogatives of the central authority,' Delors said. 'It is difficult to imagine a federation that does not have a single currency as a factor to guarantee the cohesion of the whole society.

'That is why we were surprised to hear that the Ukraine and other republics want to control their own currencies. At this stage of (Soviet) economic reforms, that would be devastating in its consequences.'

Delors, on a fact-finding trip to determine whether the 12-nation EC should provide short-term financial aid to Moscow, said his meetings with Gorbachev and other senior officials had 'given a new political impetus to relations between the Soviet Union and the European Communities.'

Tass said that 'the steps toward each other by the EC and the Soviet Union, evidenced by the promising results of Delors' talks in Moscow, testify to the powerful process of change that is leading to the building of a common European home.'

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Delors' trip capped a week of momentous visits to the Soviet Union by European political leaders.

West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Gorbachev announced Monday that Moscow had dropped its opposition to a unified Germany's membership in NATO. Kohl's trip followed that of NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner, the first official visit by a head of the Western alliance.

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