A top aide to Mikhail Gorbachev says the Soviet president would not go to next month's Western economic summit to beg for money if he is allowed to attend.
Yevgeny Primakov told the government newspaper Izvestia Thursday that reports the Soviets were seeking anywhere from $30 billion to $100 billion in foreign aid from the West were unfounded.British Prime Minister John Major, who will host the Group of Seven summit July 15-17 of the world's leading industrial nations, proposed that Gorbachev come to London just after the meeting to make a plea for aid for his battered economy.
Primakov said he believes President Bush is leaning toward inviting Gorbachev to the Group of Seven meeting itself.
"That is because he realizes that Gorbachev is not going with an outstretched hand to ask for specific figures of financial and other aid," Primakov said.
A member of Gorbachev's Security Council, Primakov said the Soviet Union needs foreign economic assistance, but would not broach the subject at the London summit.
"The official Soviet position doesn't have anything to do with these figures," he said. "I am sure that on the part of the Soviet Union figures will not be mentioned even during the London summit."
Primakov said an invitation to the summit would be consistent with Bush's commitment to improved Soviet-U.S. relations. "In other words, I am optimistic about that."
Echoing Gorbachev's Nobel Peace Prize lecture earlier this week, Primakov said it was in the West's interest to extend economic assistance to prevent the economic collapse of the Soviet Union.
He said the Soviet Union's approach to switching to a market economy was not based on getting vast sums of foreign money, but on "coordinating and synchronizing the Soviet Union's activities inside the country with Western support, including financial support, during the transition to a market."
Primakov said the economic disintegration of the Soviet Union would threaten the stability of Europe and raise dangers for the rest of the world.
"The Soviet Union is great nuclear power and its disintegration could increase the danger of proliferating nuclear weapons," he said, without elaborating.