Yeltsin urged to suspend Congress

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The Independent Online
BORIS Yeltsin, the Russian President, yesterday accused conservative legislators of trying to restore Communist rule and, his spokesman said, is laying plans to resist the threat as firmly as he did the August 1991 coup attempt.

There was no hint, however, of what action Mr Yeltsin might take in response to his humiliating defeat by the Congress of People's Deputies, which ended a four-day emergency session on Saturday.

He faces growing pressure from radical trade unions and other groups to throw caution to the wind and impose emergency presidential rule, a risky gamble that could easily backfire or trigger violent confrontation. They issued a joint statement yesterday lashing Congress as the author of a 'Communist coup' and appealing for its suspension until a new constitution could be adopted.

In a television interview, Mr Yeltsin's spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, criticised foreign observers for 'over-emotional' predictions of imminent civil war, but fuelled such fears by insisting the President was poised for decisive action. Mr Yeltsin, he said, would 'act as resolutely as he showed himself capable of acting in the fateful days of August 1991'.

Messages of support for Mr Yeltsin have flooded in from abroad. President Mitterrand of France travels to Moscow today for talks with Mr Yeltsin.

Interfax news agency yesterday quoted the deputy Prime Minister, Boris Fyodorov, as saying in Hong Kong that Mr Yeltsin 'is certain' to be invited to a G7 meeting in Tokyo.

Mr Yeltsin has not been seen in public since he stormed out of the Great Kremlin Palace on Friday. He failed to make an expected television address yesterday but issued a statement saying he would make his plans known 'in the next few days'.

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