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Ten of Europe's 30 Communist Parties -- including two in power and the Italian and Spanish "Eurocommunists" -- have given the cold shoulder to the Soviet Union's take-it-or-leave-it conference opening in Paris today (April 28), Monitor special correspondent Eric Bourne reports from Vienna. Eight will simply not be there. These are the Yugoslav, Romanian, Italian, and Spanish parties and four of the small but independent West European parties. The Belgian Communists will send only an observer. The Finnish party will be represented, if at all, only by someone from its Stalinist minority.The only West European party or leader of any significance present will be the Portuguese , under Alvaro Cunhal.

Critics have asked how a conference on "peace and disarmament" could proceed without reference to afghanistan, as the Russians obviously intend it to. The agenda, as well as invitations, timing, and duration of the conference, were all determined without consultation.

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