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Russia: Yeltsin Sees 'Historic' Place For Troika Summit

Moscow, March 26 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin says his informal summit today with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Jacques Chirac will have "a historic place" in the world. Yeltsin, speaking at a joint press conference with Kohl and Chirac after talks at the Bor residence outside Moscow, said the two-hour meeting was productive. He said that the three leaders were "real friends."

Yeltsin said today's summit marks the start of the creation of a "multi-polar world". The Russian president has repeatedly called for such a world to offset the influence of the United States following the end of the Cold War.

Yeltsin said the three discussed, among other things, prospects for building a new joint aircraft based on the Antonov-70 as well as cooperation in forming a transport corridor from Paris to Moscow.

Kohl and Chirac did not delve into details of the talks but both praised the improving ties with Moscow. Chirac said the next troika will take place in France next year. As had been expected, the summit did not produce any major agreements.

Yeltsin had been expected in the talks to explain his decision earlier this week to dismiss the entire Russian government. It was not immediately clear whether the issue came up. Yeltsin declined to say categorically whether he will appoint the acting head of government, Sergei Kiriyenko, as full-time prime minister, answering only "maybe yes, maybe no" to a reporter's question on the issue.

The three leaders broke for lunch after the press conference. Kohl and Chirac are scheduled to leave this afternoon.