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The United States and the Soviet Union are no longer enemies and are beginning a new age of collaboration and friendship, Yuri Dubinin, the Soviet Ambassador to the United States, said Friday night.

"We do not consider each other as enemies, but we have a lot of other common enemies," Dubinin said during a brief press conference.However, Dubinin, the first Soviet ambassador ever to visit Salt Lake City, said the U.S. and the USSR are plagued by other enemies - like disease and the struggle for a safer environment.

Dubinin and his wife, Liana, arrived in Salt Lake City Friday night accompanied by Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, and dined at the home of Jon M. Huntsman, chairman of Huntsman Chemical Corp. Huntsman has been instrumental in the creation of special project to provide relief to the victims of the December 1988 Armenian earthquake.

Dubinin was greeted by President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Boyd K. Packer, a member of the Church's Council of the Twelve, Gov. Norm Bangerter and Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis.

Dubinin praised the American-Armenian Bridge of Friendship, a project spearheaded by Huntsman and the LDS Church that will fund construction of new apartments in Armenia where 450,000 people were left homeless by the earthquake.

"These are new opportunities in Soviet American relations that permit us to give an example to the whole world on how to organize and generate peaceful cooperation which will be useful for all men on the Earth," Huntsman said.

The Soviet couple has taken a special interest in the project because Liana Dubinin was born in the Armenian Republic of Georgia, said Jim Kimball, from Huntsman Chemical.

"(The Bridge of Friendship) is most important project that the United States is making now in the Soviet Union. It's something which will be very useful to help Armenia recover," Dubinin said. "What his company is doing and what the Mormon Church is doing will continue to be a symbol of the special friendship between the Soviet and American people. This is one of the best manifestations of new era in Soviet American relations."

Speaking to President Hinckley, Dubinin said "our friendship with your church is not so long, but it began in a very important moment for us and for the Armenian victims of the earthquake. It was a wonderful and very touching manifestation that all of us are human beings."

"We're delighted to have you here," President Hinckley told the ambassador. "You do us a great favor by your presence."

The ambassador said he was impressed by the beauty of Utah. "I'm delighted to be here," he said. "It is an absolutely new region for us. I was told it is a wonderful part of the country. It's true, and it's very special for Liana and for me because we are both from Soviet mountains. The mountains separated our birthplaces, but they were unable to separate us," he said.

"What an appropriate and lovely occasion for our city, our state and our church to welcome Ambassador Dubinin and Mrs. Dubinin," Huntsman said.

DePaulis gave the couple a silver plate with the engraving of Salt Lake City Hall. The couple returned the gesture with a gift from the Soviet Union.

Dubinin is scheduled to hold a news conference Saturday at Brigham Young University.