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Russia: Yeltsin Delays Kremlin Return; CIS Summit Postponed

Moscow, 24 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin's spokesman today called Yeltsin's health "not so good" as to expect an immediate return to the Kremlin. Sergei Yastrzhembsky told reporters Yeltsin has still not fully recovered from his illness after leaving earlier this week following treatment for pneumonia. And a Commonwealth of Independent States summit scheduled for January 29 in Moscow has been postponed a second time.

Yasterzhembsky said Yeltsin did hold a working meeting with his chief of staff, Anatoly Chubais, today at the President's Gorki-9 residence outside Moscow. The talks reportedly focused on Monday's presidential election in Chechnya, and the results of recent regional elections for governors across Russia.

They also discussed recent talks between Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and NATO Secretary General Javier Solana on a possible charter outlining relations between Moscow and the alliance.

Meanwhile, the CIS secretariat said today that a summit meeting of leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States will not be held on January 29 as planned.

A press spokesman for the CIS said in the Belarus capital Minsk that the meeting, already postponed once, had been put back to another date.

The spokesman said the presidents of Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan had asked Russian President Boris Yeltsin to postpone the meeting, which had been due to take place in Moscow. He gave no further explanation.

The summit was also postponed from earlier this month, and Yeltsin's health problems were then widely cited as the reason. The 65-year old Russian president has been away from the Kremlin for most of the last seven months, first with heart problems and then with pneumonia. Yeltsin underwent a heart bypass operation in November.