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Madrid security conference

With one day to go before the formal opening of the European security conference, delegates at the preparatory sessions in Madrid are still trying to hammer out a concensus on the agenda and procedures.

While Eastern-bloc countries want to set a strict limit on the time allocated to human-rights discussions at the main conference, Western delegates want these discussions to have an open-ended schedule.

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In an attempt to break the deadlock, neutral Switzerland was appointed nov. 8 to act as a mediator between the two sides.

Three proposals are being considered. One, presented by the EC countries Nov. 7, calls for four weeks of debates on human-rights commitments at the main conference. Another, presented by Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, cuts these discussions down to two weeks. A third proposal, offered by the Swedish delegation with the backing of the nonaligned states, suggests three weeks for the discussions.