Russian troops deal

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MOSCOW (Reuter) - President Boris Yeltsin agreed yesterday to speed Russia's military withdrawal from eastern Germany in return for a promise of extra cash from Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

The visiting German leader said former Soviet troops would return home by 31 August 1994 - four months earlier than planned.

'This is a big success,' he told a joint news conference. 'We took an important step for the future development of German-Russian relations.'

In return, Russia will receive new German aid totalling 550m marks ( pounds 220m) instead of the DM500m originally earmarked, and will be given more time to begin repayments on about DM5bn owed to former East Germany.

Mr Kohl's arrival on Monday evening coincided with a serious political defeat for Mr Yeltsin, who was forced to drop his radical acting Prime Minister, Yegor Gaidar, under pressure from centrists and conservatives at the Congress of People's Deputies.

But yesterday he seemed to have persuaded most of his reformist ministers to stay on under the more conservative leadership of Viktor Chernomyrdin. 'There will be no major (personnel) changes, we are on track and will remain on track,' a German spokesman quoted him as telling Mr Kohl.