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Kohl backs Yeltsin’s economic reforms

SHARE Kohl backs Yeltsin’s economic reforms

President Boris Yeltsin won firm backing for Russia's economic reforms from Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Tuesday and promised to use his influence over Belgrade to end violence in Serbia's Kosovo province.

Yeltsin, on his first foreign visit since Russia's economy was shaken by financial crisis, made much of his personal friendship with Kohl in pressing for Western help."Chancellor Kohl's personal support, as a major political figure in the world, is important (to show) that our policies are right," Yeltsin told a news conference at the chancellery.

"We are working towards this on the basis of this declaration so that investors will not leave Russia and our finances will not be hurt," he said.

Kohl praised tough measures the Russian government and central bank had taken to stem the crisis, including a brief tripling of interest rates to 150 percent.

But there was no mention of any additional Western loans to help stabilize the economy.

In Washington, the deputy head of the International Monetary Fund said he sees no immediate need to increase an existing $9.2 billion loan to Russia.

Stanley Fisher told reporters at an IMF conference on social spending issues Monday that the "situation could change and we will have to stay up with it."

Kohl said Yeltsin had pledged to use his influence on the Yugoslav government to help resolve the conflict in Kosovo, where a recent increase in violence had produced a new wave of refugees.

Yeltsin, apparently referring to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, said: "We will meet and clarify how we can get out of this situation."

Yeltsin's spokesman, asked when a meeting might take place, said that would depend on Milosevic. Russia enjoys close traditional links with Serbia.