Bush, Gorbachev in Finland for superpower summit

HELEN THOMAS UPI White House Reporter

HELSINKI, Finland -- President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in Finland Saturday for their third superpower summit in 10 months in what the White House hopes will turn up the pressure on Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

'Here in Helsinki, President Gorbachev and I meet hopefully to strengthen our common approach to this unjustifiable act of aggression,' Bush said on arrival. 'Much is at stake and there is much to gain if we succeed.'


'I hope this meeting will be successful,' Gorbachev said when he arrived Staurday evening. 'Although we have been in touch through our personal representatives and in various other ways, it is necessary to meet in order to discuss the acute crisis in the Persian Gulf and a number of other issues.'

After the two leaders arrived in Finland, Saddam sent them a message read by a spokesman on Iraqi television, warning that Arabs and Moslems around the world would react to any attack on Iraq.

'Before each of you make any decision on Kuwait you should remember that the Arab nation is one, even though it is now divided,' Saddam said. '... Foreign intervention complicates things and does not resolve them.'


National security adviser Brent Scowcroft, commenting just hours before Bush and Gorbachev were to meet, said Saddam appeared to be 'maneuvering at present ... looking for ways out of his dilemma.'

Scowcroft said isolating Saddam and bringing pressure through a trade embargo is a strategy that can probably succeed without a military clash.

'We've put together a strategy that has a good chance of success without the use of military force,' Scowcroft told reporters.

Bush said the hastily arranged one-day summit meeting, announced only last weekend, 'comes at a critical time, at a moment when the actions we take can shape this new world for years to come.'

'If the nations of the world, acting together, continue as they have been to isolate Iraq and deny Saddam the fruits of aggression, we will set in place the cornerstone of an international order more peaceful, stable and secure than any that we have known,' Bush said.

Senior U.S. officials said Bush intends to ask Gorbachev to withdraw all Soviet military advisers from Iraq, and will try to persuade Moscow to play a more direct role in the multinational effort against the Iraqi leader.

Officially, the summit agenda was left open to cover a wide range of issues, but the meeting is expected to focus on the Persian Gulf crisis, which represents the first time since World War II that the superpowers have been allies in a regional conflict and Bush wants to build on the renewed union.


The Soviet Union has joined the United States and much of the world in denouncing the Aug. 2 takeover of Kuwait and in backing a U.N.- mandated economic embargo against the Middle East nation.

Bush arrived about 4:10 a.m. EDT aboard Air Force One and was met at Helsinki's international Vantaa airport by Finnish President Mauno Koivisto.

Gorbachev arrived several hours later under overcast skies aboard a special Soviet flight.

The two leaders had no plans to meet until Sunday, when they have scheduled seven hours of talks at the Finnish presidential palace before winding up with a joint news conference.

The meeting will mark the third superpower summit in the last 10 months.

Bush met with Koivisto after his arrival at the presidential palace at Helsinki and spoke to U.S. Embassy staff and families in Helsinki and to Finnish business leaders.

'Tomorrow we'll be speaking not to some adversary,' the president said, 'but to the leader of a country with whom I think we're going to have increasingly productive relations and clearly I hope that we'll come out of this meeting tomorrow not with every difference ironed out, but with a common purpose.'


During his embassy visit, Bush expressed hope in a brief exchange with a U.S. Air Force colonel that U.S. air power now deployed in and near Saudi Arabia will guarantee that Saddam does not do 'anything reckless.'

'He'd be stupid if he did,' Bush added.

Bush told reporters aboard Air Force One that he had 'no plans' to ask Gorbachev to commit ground forces to Saudi Arabia to complement a multinational deployment spearheaded by 100,000 U.S. troops.

The Bush administration has also said it will not use the possibility of more U.S. aid to Moscow as incentive for more Soviet pressure on Iraq.

Yet just hours before leaving, Bush announced that a U.S. trade delegation headed by Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher will visit the Soviet Union next week, and that members of the delegation will meet with him in Helsinki after the summit.

As Soviet and American officials describe the summit, it will be relatively informal, in the pattern of the meeting at Malta in December 1989 or the informal talks at the Camp David presidential retreat that followed their formal sessions in Washington last spring.

Officials said the issue of the Soviet military advisers remaining in Iraq will be a key topic. Moscow has said it has 193 uniformed military advisers left in Iraq, as well as about 6,000 civilians and dependents. These advisers have trained Iraqi troops in the use of Soviet weaponry sold prior to the U.N. embargo. Moscow has insisted they were not involved in the invasion of Kuwait.


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