Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 110

Russia and Germany looked to boostbilateral relations yesterday, as President Boris Yeltsin arrived in Bonnwith an impressive delegation of key Russian ministers. A large number ofbilateral, European and broader international issues are on the agenda forthe two days of talks, which officials from both sides are touting as themost expansive to date between Bonn and Moscow. Among the topics expected tofigure prominently are Russia’s financial turmoil and the internationalcrises in Kosovo and South Asia. Joining Yeltsin in Bonn are Deputy PrimeMinister Oleg Sysuev, Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Defense MinisterIgor Sergeev, Economics Minister Yakov Urinson, Finance Minister MikhailZadornov, Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin, Atomic Energy Minister YevgenyAdamov and others. Officials from both sides indicated yesterday that thisyear’s meeting is to become both a regular and an annual event.

With regard to Russia’s financial crisis, Yeltsin was careful to emphasizeyesterday that he was not coming to Bonn with hat in hand. A similar linewas taken by Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko during a visit to Francelast week. That Germany was not planning any sort of unilateral bailoutpackage for Russia was suggested when a government spokesman said that Bonnwould provide no direct aid for Russia. He did not rule out, however, thatGermany might take part in a rescue package being put together by theInternational Monetary Fund. (AP, Xinhua, June 8)

On the issue of Kosovo, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel indicated thathe would try to win support from Moscow for a decision by the European Unionto ban investment in Serbia and to freeze its assets abroad. (AP, June 8)Russia, the main supporter of Belgrade among members of the InternationalContact Group, has thus far been reluctant to support sanctions againstSerbia. Yesterday’s talks in Bonn come amid a serious escalation of violencein Kosovo. Those developments have led the United States to also consider aresumption of sanctions. On June 7, British Prime Minister Tony Blairconferred with Yeltsin by telephone about the crisis. Blair reportedly urgedYeltsin to use his influence to help persuade Belgrade to stop the”barbarism” against civilians in Kosovo. A spokesman for Blair said thatYeltsin had undertaken to do so. (Reuter, June 7)

Among the results of yesterday’s talks were two intergovernmental agreementsdealing with Russian-German cooperation on nuclear energy. One of theaccords exempts German suppliers of nuclear technologies from responsibilityfor possible damage to Russian reactors. A second specifies the terms oftransfer and use of highly enriched uranium to be delivered by Russia for aGerman research reactor. In the area of military technical cooperation, thetwo sides are expected to discuss implementation of a project to modernizethe Soviet-made MiG-29 jet fighters still being used by Eastern Europeancountries. The talks will also address a Russian-German-Ukrainian projectaimed at designing a military transport plane based on the An-70.(Itar-Tass, June 8. See the Monitor, May 27)