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U.S. REJECTS SOVIET OFFER FOR TALKS ON NATO ARMS

President Mikhail S. Gorbachev proposed Thursday that the Soviet Union and United States negotiate differences over NATO plans to improve short-range nuclear missiles in Europe, but Secretary of State James A. Baker III rejected the offer.

At a news conference capping his first visit to the Soviet Union, Baker also:-said negotiations on strategic nuclear weapons, recessed last year, would resume between June 12 and 19. He also said talks with the Soviets on a nuclear test ban would start June 26.

-appeared to rule out the possibility that Gorbachev and President Bush would hold their first summit soon. "We agreed that we would further discuss that issue . . . probably in September," Baker said.

-said the Soviets gave U.S. officials a list of people who will be allowed to emigrate. Baker had met Wednesday with people not allowed to emigrate, telling them Washington would "keep up the pressure."

-said, "We think there may be a fair amount of common ground to our approaches to the Middle East. We talked about the idea of giving elections a chance," a reference to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's proposal for elections in the Israeli-occupied territories.

But he reported sharp differences over NATO plans to replace its short-range Lance missiles in Europe with modern battlefield nuclear weapons. He said Gorbachev had suggested the two sides try to resolve the dispute through consultations.

Baker said Washington would not accept negotiations because it believes the weapons have served as an effective deterrent.

NATO itself is embroiled in a dispute over the missiles.