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Russia: Lebed Starts High-Level Meetings In Bonn

Bonn, 15 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Former Russian Security Adviser Alexander Lebed has begun high-level talks in Bonn at the start of a six-day unofficial visit to Germany.

Lebed was meeting today with Chancellor Helmut Kohl's powerful parliamentary faction leader, Wolfgang Schaeuble. He also is scheduled to meet with the chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee, Karl-Heinz Hornhues.

Other meetings are planned with the faction leaders of Germany's opposition Social Democrats and the Greens Party.

In a discussion with members of the German Foreign Policy Association, Lebed predicted that Russia would take up to two generations to develop into a democratic state.

Earlier today, Lebed reiterated his calls for the ailing President Boris Yeltsin to resign. He told German television (ZDF) that he has the "firm intention of winning" Russia's next presidential election. Lebed recently formed his own political party.

He said his first move if elected president would be to reform Russia's "very unjust and cruel laws." He also said he wants to allow Russian citizens to become "genuine property owners."