Gorbachev and Syrian vice president meet

publisher: UPI

Publishing date: 1986-05-29

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MOSCOW — Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, meeting with Syria’s vice president, said the Soviet Union strongly backs Syrian efforts to win the Palestinians a homeland, the official news agency Tass said.

The Tass account of a meeting Wednesday between Gorbachev and Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam praised Syria’s fight for the Palestinians and called American foreign policy ‘adventurist’ and ‘imperial.’

‘The adventurist imperial policy is fraught with extremely dangerous consequences for the world community of states and peoples and deserves the most decisive counteraction,’ the official news agency quoted Gorbachev as telling Khaddam.

Khaddam, who received a warmer welcome in Moscow than his Libyan counterpart, pledged his country would not be intimidated by U.S. military threats and would continue its fight for a Palestinian homeland, Tass said.

Unlike his warning Tuesday to Libya’s second-in-command, Abdel Sallam Jalloud, that Tripoli refrain from terrorist acts that could prompt a U.S. attack, Gorbachev came out fully in support of Syria.

The ‘working visits’ of Jalloud and Khaddam, at the invitation of the Soviet government, came six weeks after U.S. warplanes struck Libya April 15 in reprisal for its alleged role in the bombing of a West Berlin nightclub frequented by American servicemen.

The Kremlin meeting between Khaddam and Gorbachev dealt with Syria’s military capabilities and both Soviet Chief of Staff Sergei Akhromeyev and Syrian Chief of the General Staff Hikmat al Shehabi were present.

The Tass report said the discussion was held ‘in view of the escalating threats from U.S. imperialism and Israel against Syria.’

Tass said the discussion included the need for unity of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which Syria has helped divide, and the ‘negative effects’ of the Iran-Iraq war, in which Syria and the Soviet Union back different sides.

Soviet President Andrei Gromyko, at a dinner in Khaddam’s honor, called U.S. policy ‘internationally illegal and state-sponsored terrorism.’

Tass said Gorbachev sent a note through Khaddam to Syrian President Hafaz Assad, wishing ‘the Syrian people success in their active and courageous struggle for the just cause of their country and the Arab world.’

The Soviet Union is Syria’s biggest arms supplier, and the Kremlin talks focused on ‘strengthening Syria’s defense capabilities’ in the face of U.S. threats, Tass said.

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