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Russia: Chernomyrdin To Meet Clinton, Conclude Meetings

Washington, 7 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Bill Clinton at the White House in Washington today on the second full day of his visit to the American capital.

Chernomyrdin is co-chairing a U.S.-Russian joint commission on cooperation in economic and technology issues, which is holding its 8th semi-annual session in Washington. The commission is to conclude its meetings today. U.S. Vice President Al Gore is the U.S. co-chairman.

Chernomyrdin and Gore have also been working on the agenda for a planned summit between Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Chernomyrdin said yesterday that he expects the summit to take place in March, but gave no details on where it will happen. The summit was supposed to occur in the United States, but that has been thrown into doubt over concern about whether Yeltsin is healthy enough to make the trip.

Chernomyrdin said yesterday that his main priority in the United States is to encourage foreign investment in Russia, particularly projects involving U.S. capital and technology. But he acknowledged that Russian business law remains "far from perfect."

Chernomyrdin's spokesman Viktor Konnov said the prime minister voiced Moscow's opposition to NATO's planned eastward expansion in a meeting yesterday with U.S. senators.

Tomorrow, Chernomyrdin and Gore will travel to Chicago for a day of meetings with more than 150 private business people from the agribusiness and energy sectors in the mid-section of the United States. Chernomyrdin is scheduled to fly back to Moscow on Sunday.