Accord on aid to Yeltsin

Click to follow
The Independent Online
(First Edition)

PRESIDENT Bill Clinton joined with President Francois Mitterrand of France yesterday in calling for early international action to bolster economic reform in Russia, perhaps by convening an emergency summit of industrialised countries.

The situation in Russia and the political vulnerability of President Boris Yeltsin headed discussion between the leaders during a first meeting in the White House. They also considered the situation in Bosnia and trade disputes.

In a joint press appearance with Mr Mitterrand, President Clinton the United States President suggested that it was 'entirely possible' that a Group of Seven (G7) summit insinvolving the leading industrialised nations endinsmight be called to discuss additional aid to Russia in advance of the next scheduled meeting in Tokyo in July.

'The important point I'd like to make is I don't believe we can wait until July for the major countries of the world who care about what happens in Russia and who would like very much to keep political and economic reform on track there, to move,' Mr Clinton said. remarked.

President Mitterrand said also that inshe inswas 'in favour' of an early G7 Group of Seven meeting, suggesting that it should consider developments not just in the former Soviet Union but in Eastern Europe generally.

Noting Japan's reticence about an early meeting, Mr Mitterrand suggested Tokyo may not be taking 'sufficient regard in this respect to the events taking place mainly in Europe'.

Both leaders are due shortly to meet President Yeltsin. Mr Mitterrand is to visit Moscow later this month and the first Clinton-Yeltsin summit will take place in Vancouver on 3-4 April.

Mr Clinton noted that after the Vancouver encounter 'if not before', when he was clear about his own priorities for helping Russia, he would 'move to mobilise others to act in this regard'.

Accepting that all the G7 Group of Seven countries, including Japan, would have to agree to such a move before an early meeting can be convened, Mr Clinton added that 'perhaps there is some other way that we can engage the G7

in trying to address the Russian situation'.

Mr Clinton is said to be considering the creation of a multi-billion-dollar programme that would be available as a safety net in the event of the complete collapse of the Russian economy and social unrest.