WASHINGTON (Oct. 28)
Human rights, including the issue of Jewish emigration, is expected to be discussed when Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze meets here Friday with Secretary of State George Shultz, the State Department said Wednesday.
Department spokesman Charles Redman said that while the main topic will be a treaty to eliminate medium and short-range missiles, now being negotiated in Geneva, the United States at all of its meetings with the Soviet Union also discusses human rights, regional and bilateral issues. He said he expected that all of these would be raised Friday “in one way or another.”
The surprise announcement Tuesday that Shevardnadze would be coming to Washington came in the aftermath of Shultz’s visit to Moscow last week. During that mission, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said he was not ready to set a date for a summit with President Reagan, despite expectation that the date would be set during the Shultz visit.
When Shevardnadze arrives in Washington, he will present Reagan with a letter from Gorbachev. This has fueled speculation that a summit is again in the works.
SHULTZ APPARENTLY SATISFIED
While there was disappointment among American officials last week over the failure to set a summit date, Shultz expressed satisfaction with Soviet progress in the area of human rights — the first issue he raised with Shevardnadze.
At the conclusion of his talks in Moscow, the secretary said he was pleased that the Soviets are living up to their promise to have a commission review the cases of Jews whose applications for exit visas have been denied. Shultz has been pressing the Soviets to deal with the emigration issue on a more systematic basis.
But Richard Shifter, assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs, told a United Jewish Appeal group here Monday, that while the number of emigrants has increased greatly over last year, progress on emigration is still moving slowly.
Shifter, who participated in the Moscow talks, said that while he expects most longtime refuseniks to be allowed to leave, there are still no assurances that the nearly 400,000 Jews who have indicated a desire to emigrate will be allowed to do so.