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Venice Economic Summit Conference Statement on East-West Relations

June 09, 1987

1. We, the Heads of State or Government of seven major industrial nations and the Representatives of the European Community, have discussed East-West relations. We reaffirm our shared principles and objectives, and our common dedication to preserving and strengthening peace.

2. We recognize with pride that our shared values of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights are the source of the dynamism and prosperity of our societies. We renew our commitment to the search for a freer, more democratic and more humane world.

3. Within existing alliances each of us is resolved to maintain a strong and credible defence which threatens the security of no-one, protects freedom, deters aggression and maintains peace. We shall continue to consult closely on all matters affecting our common interest. We will not be separated from the principles that guide us all.

4. Since we last met, new opportunities have opened for progress in East-West relations. We are encouraged by these developments. They confirm the soundness of the policies we have each pursued in our determination to achieve a freer and safer world.

5. We are following with close interest recent developments in the internal and external policies of the Soviet Union. It is our hope that they will prove to be of great significance for the improvement of political, economic and security relations between the countries of East and West. At the same time, profound differences persist; each of us must remain vigilantly alert in responding to all aspects of Soviet policy.

6. We reaffirm our commitment to peace and increased security at lower levels of arms. We seek a comprehensive effort to lower tensions and to achieve verifiable arms reductions. While reaffirming the continuing importance of nuclear deterrence in preserving peace, we note with satisfaction that dialogue on arms control has intensified and that more favorable prospects have emerged for the reduction of nuclear forces. We appreciate US efforts to negotiate balanced, substantial and verifiable reductions in nuclear weapons. We emphasize our determination to enhance conventional stability at a lower level of forces and achieve the total elimination of chemical weapons. We believe that these goals should be actively pursued and translated into concrete agreements. We urge the Soviet Union to negotiate in a positive and constructive manner. An effective resolution of these issues is an essential requirement for real and enduring stability in the world.

7. We will be paying close attention not only to Soviet statements but also to Soviet actions on issues of common concern to us. In particular:

—We call for significant and lasting progress in human rights, which is essential to building trust between our societies. Much still remains to be done to meet the principles agreed and commitments undertaken in the Helsinki Final Act and confirmed since.

—We look for an early and peaceful resolution of regional conflicts, and especially for a rapid and total withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan so that the people of Afghanistan may freely determine their own future.

—We encourage greater contacts, freer interchange of ideas and more extensive dialogue between our people and the people of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

8. Thus, we each seek to stabilize military competition between East and West at lower levels of arms; to encourage stable political solutions to regional conflicts; to secure lasting improvements in human rights; and to build contacts, confidence and trust between governments and peoples in a more humane world. Progress across the board is necessary to establish a durable foundation for stable and constructive relationships between the countries of East and West.

Ronald Reagan, Venice Economic Summit Conference Statement on East-West Relations Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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