The Naples Summit: Yeltsin is admitted to world's top club as a political equal: Seven become eight as Russian President, third time lucky, hails his country's acceptance and recognition as 'a democratic state'

BORIS YELTSIN has become a de facto member of a political Group of Eight, leaders at the world economic summit said yesterday.

Mr Yeltsin, who attended the political talks of the G7 leaders for the third year in succession, said after the session concluded: 'Russia has virtually been accepted into the world community; it has been recognised as a democratic state.'

As Western leaders happily bandied the term 'G8' throughout yesterday's political discussions, rather than, as in the previous two years, 'G7 plus one', French President Francois Mitterrand summed up the development: 'Before, we held discussions with Yeltsin about problems between Russia and us; now, he and we discuss political problems across the board.'

At a joint press conference with President Bill Clinton, a feisty President Yeltsin declared: 'I need to cast off this red jacket of President of Russia. I've been wearing it for three years now.' Including Mr Yeltsin as a political equal was a way for the seven to satisfy him for now, without throwing further money at his country. Mr Yeltsin, who did not attend the economic deliberations, said Russia was not asking for money from the Group of Eight; but he did press for more open trade with the West. 'It is more important to be recognised as an equal partner - and then we will earn money together,' he said.

Mr Clinton refrained from endorsing Mr Yeltsin's claim to be a fully paid-up member of the G7 political summit. But John Major and Jean Chretien, the Canadian Prime Minister, made clear their view that Russian membership was now a foregone conclusion.

Mr Major said it was 'vital to have Russia as an equal partner in our political work.' And at the end of the summit, Mr Chretien, the host of next year's summit in Halifax, Nova Scotia, issued an immediate invitation to Mr Yeltsin - the first such automatic inclusion of the Russian president.

Mr Yeltsin urged the G7 to drop restrictions on trade with Russia, especially its potential exports of hi-tech goods to the US market. Mr Clinton said restrictions on Western technology exports to Russia under Cocom had been abolished; but laws in many Western countries still maintained those restrictions. 'We need a new order to replace Cocom,' he said.

Mr Yeltsin warned of drawbacks of not lifting trade restrictions with his country. Asked what he would do about his country's exports to states like Iran, and other countries regarded as sponsors of terrorism, he replied: 'We are attempting to limit this trade. We are attempting to do that.' However, Russia was persuaded to join the G7 in agreeing not to ease United Nations sanctions on Iraq, including an oil embargo, arising from the 1991 Gulf war.

In a reminder that there is not full agreement with the West on Russia's policy towards its 'near abroad', he said he would withdraw Russian troops from Latvia by the agreed 31 August deadline, but 'Estonia is for us more complex. I have in mind cruel violations of human rights towards Russian military pensioners.'

But Mr Yeltsin pledged to exert pressure on the Bosnian Serbs to accept an international peace plan developed by the 'contact groups' in which Moscow has been working with four Western powers to find a lasting settlement.

The seven used the closing 'chairman's statement' to emph asise the equal role they were according to Russia: 'This partnership, which is a reflection of the reforms that have taken place in Russia, reaffirms our wish to tackle together today's problems in a constructive and responsible manner.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor