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Russia: Clinton Confident Yeltsin Is In Control

Chicago, 26 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President Bill Clinton says he is confident that Russian President Boris Yeltsin is in control in the Kremlin despite widespread rumors of his poor health.

"I believe that President Yeltsin is in charge in Russia, and that's my best information," Clinton said in an interview yesterday with CNN.

Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesman said today that Yeltsin would begin a new holiday today, but would remain in control of state affairs. Spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said Yeltsin was currently at a Kremlin residence some 90 kilometers northeast of Moscow.

Clinton said Yeltsin recently waged a campaign for president through 11 Russian time zones.

"We in America have three, except in Alaska and Hawaii. So, he is clearly in charge," he said.

Clinton said: "What we all want for President Yeltsin is to get the rest he needs, get the medical treatment he needs ... " He said it is "entirely" up to Yeltsin and his doctors to decide whether to seek treatment for his health problems in the West.

Clinton also said the "Russian system has always been, for the last two or three years, somewhat chaotic." But he said the Kremlin seems to be making "a little progress" in Chechnya.