WASHINGTON (Sep. 24)
The United States and its West European allies will press the Soviet bloc on human rights in a conference that opened in Vienna Tuesday, the State Department said.
The U.S., Canada and 33 European nations will be meeting in Vienna for two weeks to prepare for a follow-up to the 1975 Helsinki Accords in Vienna on November 4. The follow-up and a conference which ended in Stockholm Monday were scheduled at the end of the Helsinki review conference in Madrid in 1983.
“The U.S. and its allies will seek improved compliance by the East with all the principles of Helsinki and Madrid,” State Department deputy spokesman Charles Redman said Tuesday. He said at the meeting the West will seek an agenda for the November 4 meeting that will address the full range of issues covered by the Helsinki Final Act “which represents a framework for seeking to resolve the humanitarian, economic and security issues that divide Europe.”
Redman said the Stockholm conference was an integral part of the broader process which “recognizes the interrelationship between peace and freedom in Europe.” At Stockholm an agreement was reached for exchanges of information about military exercises and for inspection of troop movements between NATO and Warsaw Pact countries.
THE PRIORITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS
“Commitments were made more than 10 years ago in Helsinki concerning these rights and their recognition,” Reagan said. “We need only look to the East today to see how sadly unfulfilled those commitments are. The persecution of scientists, religious leaders, peace activists, political dissenters and other prisoners of conscience continues unabated behind the Iron Curtain.”
While the plight of Soviet Jewry was not specifically mentioned by either Reagan or Redman, it has been brought up by the U.S. and other Western countries, with specific names mentioned, at the previous follow-up conferences in Belgrade in 1977-78 and Madrid 1980-83.