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Russia: Yeltsin Says Moscow Will Sign NATO Accord During May Summit

Baden-Baden, 17 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yelstin said today that Russia and NATO will sign an accord on future relations at a planned summit in Paris on May 27. He made the statement following talks with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who said important differences remained to be worked out. But the chancellor said he was confident that "with good will on both sides" there could be an overall agreement before the July NATO summit, when the alliance is expected to invite new members to join in.

The two leaders, who met in the spa town of Baden-Baden and held a joint news conference, refused to give details of their talks on NATO's expansion, saying it would not be helpful to the negotiations.

Yeltsin also said he remained opposed to the stationing of nuclear or conventional weapons on the territory of new NATO members and that he hoped Kohl would put his weight behind Russia's arguments. Kohl said the Germans would be helpful but will not play the role of "interpreter."

Turning to economic matters, Yeltsin also said that he expects Russia to be admitted to the Paris Club of leading industrial democracies this year.

The two leaders also touched upon the issue of artworks seized by the Red Army in Nazi Germany at the end of World War II. Yeltsin said the issue of the artworks was a knot that had to be untied. Kohl thanked Yeltsin for the archives of Walther Rathenau, Foreign Minister of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s, that the Russian president brought with him to Baden-Baden as a gesture of goodwill.