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Russia: Yeltsin Cancels CIS Summit, Troika Meeting Still On

Moscow, 17 March 1998 (RFE/RL) - President Boris Yeltsin, suffering from a respiratory infection, today cancelled a forthcoming meeting of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) leaders in Moscow because of his ill health. The Kremlin however said that preparations for a meeting later this month with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Jacques Chirac in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg are continuing.

Earlier today the presidential press-service said doctors had ordered Yeltsin to spend part of each day in bed at his Gorki-9 residence outside Moscow. The doctors also advised him to cancel all official appointments this week in order "to avoid bronchial and lung complications." The press service said Yeltsin will continue a course of antibiotics and had also been prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs and cough medicine.

Valentin Yumashev, Yeltsin's chief of staff, said the president was keen to get back to work but had decided to follow doctors' orders. Yeltsin has stayed at the Gorki-9 residence since Friday when he abruptly cancelled meetings because of an acute respiratory ailment.

ITAR-TASS said Yeltsin had ordered Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Rybkin, in charge of CIS affairs, CIS minister Anatoly Adamishin and First Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov to travel to CIS capitals to work out a date for the rescheduled CIS meeting. Officials said Yeltsin had suggested the meeting be held in the third week of next month.

Meanwhile, in Bishkek, members of the Central Asian Union signed six cooperation agreements.

Prime Ministers from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan signed agreements on cooperation in ecology and joint use of water resources.

Nurlan Balgimbaev, the Kazakh prime minister, said that Kyrgyzstan agreed to provide Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with water in return for coal from Kazakhstan and natural gas from Uzbekistan.

Observers from Russia and Tajikistan attended today's Bishkek meeting but nothing was announced on Tajikistan's membership in the Central Asian Union following the discussions.