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Yeltsin ends isolation for relaxed meeting with Kohl

yeltsin

September 7, 1996
Web posted at: 11:00 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT)

From CNN Correspondent Jackie Shymanski

Moscow (CNN) -- In his first encounter with a Western head of state since winning re-election July 3, Russian President Boris Yeltsin met Saturday with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Both leaders sported burgundy sweaters and strolled in amiable fashion through the grounds of a picturesque hunting lodge, where Yeltsin is said to be resting and readying for heart surgery.

The informal setting spoke volumes of the relationship between Yeltsin and Kohl, who speak of each other as personal friends.

The two men met face to face for about 35 minutes and discussed Yeltsin's health, although neither would elaborate on the Russian leader's upcoming surgery.

Kohl said he was solidly behind Yeltsin when it came to rife speculation of a possible power vacuum due to his illness.

They also talked about a wide range of issues, including peace talks in Chechnya and NATO plans to expand into former East Bloc countries, a move Russia has strongly condemned.

Kohl said it was agreed that all questions on the NATO issue would be resolved in time for a NATO summit slated for 1997.

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