Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 129

The leaders of the Group of Seven meeting in Lyon, France, over the weekend issued what was described by diplomats as a deliberately low-key statement that was not an explicit endorsement of Boris Yeltsin but that did offer support for Russia’s reforms and its commitment to democracy. "Economic and political reforms are mutually reinforcing and position Russia to play a more significant role in the global economy," the statement said. It also urged Russia to implement fully its economic commitments to the IMF. As expected, G-7 leaders declined to admit Russia as a full-member of the group. French president Jacques Chirac said Russia’s proper place was in political consultations on global issues rather than as a participant in the financial and economic forum of the leading nations.

Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, standing in for Boris Yeltsin, joined the group on June 28. At a news briefing following the talks he said that without Russia’s participation "there can be no solution to any global problem." Chernomyrdin also said that Russia would like to join the group as an equal after it completes its own process of economic and political reform. G-7 leaders were reportedly especially interested in learning from Chernomyrdin the state of President Boris Yeltsin’s health and his chances of winning the July 3 election. Chernomyrdin also took some heat from U.S. president Bill Clinton for remarks made last week by Yeltsin ally Aleksandr Lebed on the alleged pernicious influences of non-native religious sects — including the Mormons — on Russian culture.

Chernomyrdin signed onto the G-7’s final communique, which threatened sanctions if Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic fails to "step down immediately and permanently" from all public functions and government posts. Moscow has in the past expressed reservations over the reimposition of sanctions as a means of driving Karadzic from the political arena. The final statement also urged Middle Eastern states to resume peace talks on the basis of "land for peace" and pledged to fight international terrorism and organized. crime. (Western news agencies, June 28-29)

Chechnya Talks Break Down.