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Russia: Yeltsin, Chernomyrdin Hail Belarus Compromise

Moscow, 22 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Russian president Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin today hailed the compromise agreement reached under Russian mediation between Belarus' president and parliament over a referendum on proposed constitutional changes.

Itar-Tass quotes the Kremlin press service as saying the head of Yeltsin's administration, Anatoly Chubais, today briefed the president on the latest developments in Belarus. Yeltsin, continuing recovery from heart bypass surgery two weeks ago, moved today from the Kremlin central Clinical hospital to the Barvikha government rest home outside Moscow.

There, the Kremlin service said he held talks with Chubais on Belarus and Russian regional elections.

The Kremlin press-service said Yeltsin and Chubais discussed "possible developments in Belarus and Russia's role as a guarantee" of the compromise agreement.

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, whose all-night talks in Minsk broke the deadlock between Lukashenka and parliament, said today the compromise deal is a "big step forward" for Belarus.

Chernomyrdin told reporters after arriving in the northern Russian city of Murmansk today he is confident the agreement will resolve Belarus' constitutional problems. However, he says it is now necessary to consolidate what was achieved by going through with the referendum.