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Russia: Yeltsin Meets Chernomyrdin After Heart Operation

Moscow, 6 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Doctors took President Boris Yeltsin off a lung ventilator this morning in a further sign that he is recovering well from yesterday's quintuple bypass heart surgery.

The presidential press office says Yeltsin met Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for 15 minutes this morning.

It was the Russian president's first official meeting in more than a week. Yeltsin told Chernomyrdin, who temporarily took over from him yesterday, that he is determined to return to work as soon as possible. The meeting took place in Moscow's Cardiology Research Center where yesterday's open heart surgery was performed.

Earlier today, Yeltsin's spokesman Sergei Yastrzembsky said Yeltsin has signed a decree taking back all presidential powers.

"He woke up and signed the decree," said Yastrzembsky.

The presidential spokesman says Yeltsin feels much better than the doctors had expected him to feel after the operation. He says Yeltsin is regaining his health quite quickly.

Doctors are currently meeting at the cardiologogy center to review the 65-year-old president's progress.

Itar-Tass reports that the decree requires Chernomyrdin to report to Yeltsin within three days on all decisions made while he was temporarily handed presidential powers.