Yeltsin meeting with Gore fails to dispel health fears

President Boris Yeltsin made his first public appearance for three weeks yesterday, holding a 45-minute meeting with the US Vice-President, Al Gore, at a health resort outside Moscow. An American reporter who witnessed the start of the meeting in the village of Barvikha said Mr Yeltsin moved stiffly and appeared to be in some physical discomfort when seated with Mr Gore, but the Vice-President said the Russian leader seemed to be in good health.

"I think he is relaxing and getting some needed rest, but to me he looks good. On every score, President Yeltsin was actively engaged and seemed in very good shape to me," Mr Gore said after the meeting.

Despite these reassurances, there was no explanation of the extraordinary incident on Monday when, at the last minute, Mr Yeltsin postponed his meeting with Mr Gore for a day on the grounds that he had decided to take a holiday. Mr Yeltsin had two mild heart attacks last year, but his aides attributed his absence from public view after 26 June to nothing more than a cold and a need for rest after a lengthy and hard-fought election campaign.

Some European leaders remain unconvinced that all is normal in Moscow. President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland said: "The fact that today it is not very clear who is in charge in the Kremlin is a problem, but one must express hope that President Yeltsin's problems are temporary and he will be the one to take matters into his hands."

Mr Yeltsin's retreat from the public gaze coincided with the breakdown of a truce in Chechnya and a new Russian military onslaught against separatist rebels. However, to judge from an official Russian account of Mr Yeltsin's talks with Mr Gore, it seems improbable that Russian forces were capitalising on the President's poor health to act without his authority.

His press spokesman, Sergei Medvedev, said Mr Yeltsin had told Mr Gore that negotiations with the rebels formed the main direction of his policy, but that Russia still needed to protect itself against "bandit" formations. Russia's Interior Minister, Colonel Anatoly Kulikov, later blamed the rebels for two trolleybus bomb attacks in Moscow last week which wounded 33 people. He said it was too soon to talk of pulling out Russian forces by 1 September, as agreed in Mr Yeltsin's pre-election truce with Chechen commanders.

n Stary Atagi, Russia (Reuter) - The brother of the Chechen separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev said yesterday that he and his family, including his mother, narrowly escaped death when Russian helicopters fired rockets into their home.

Residents said the house of Suleiman Yandarbiyev, 37, the guerrilla leader's younger brother, was one of five in the southern Chechen village of Stary Atagi hit by guided missiles on Monday evening. No one was killed.

"This is state terrorism," Suleiman Yandarbiyev said. "When a trolleybus gets blown up in Moscow, it's a tragedy for Russia. When they bomb villages and kill civilians in Chechnya, it's the fight against terrorism. They just treat us like animals."

Suleiman Yandarbiyev said he was sure that the attack had been deliberate, with him and his family as targets, although he insisted that there were no armed guerrillas in Stary Atagi.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Healthcare expertise

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf