WASHINGTON (Sep. 22)
President Reagan is expected to stress the importance for the Soviet Union to continue making progress on human rights, when he meets with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze Friday afternoon.
The White House meeting will conclude two days of talks between Shevardnadze and Secretary of State George Shultz.
Human rights was the first item on the agenda between the two foreign ministers, when the talks began at the State Department Thursday.
“We still believe that more can be done in this area” of human rights, Rozanne Ridgway, assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian affairs, said at a briefing on the meeting earlier this week.
She said this included such matters as increased emigration, the release of political prisoners and religious practices.
After a meeting between Shultz and Jewish leaders last Friday, Morris Abram, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, said that Shultz was expected to discuss with Shevardnadze issues raised by the Jewish leaders.
This included a time limit on how long the possession of “state secrets” could bar someone from emigrating; the elimination of public and official anti-Semitism; and the recognition of Hebrew as an official language.
The group also asked Shultz to press the Soviets to allow the emigration of four former prisoners of conscience: Boris Chernobilsky, Vladimir Kislik, Evgeny Lein and Roald Zelichonok.
Shultz and Shevardnadze were accompanied at the meetings by a large contingent of advisers, as they discussed the four areas that have become the normal agenda in meetings between the two superpowers — arms control, human rights, regional issues and bilateral issues.
As has become diplomatic practice, working groups were established on all four topics.
State Department spokesman Charles Redman said that Shultz and Shevardnadze are not scheduled to meet in New York next week, when both will be attending the U.N. General Assembly, although he did not rule out such a meeting.
Shevardnadze is also scheduled to meet with Vice President George Bush.
Although Bush has frequently met with foreign leaders visiting Washington, the meeting is being viewed as part of his presidential campaign.
No meeting has been scheduled with Bush’s Democratic opponent, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.