In other remarks made during the Strasbourg summit, Yeltsin proposed the construction of a "great Europe without dividing lines" — a reference to his earlier calls for stronger ties between Russia and Europe accompanied, presumably, by both a reduction in the U.S. presence on the continent and a deemphasis in the security role played by the NATO military alliance. (See Monitor, October 6) Yeltsin also pledged to fulfill all of the obligations that Russia undertook in joining the Council of Europe, despite what he called the efforts of those in and outside of Russia who are "striving to isolate Russia and put her in an unequal position." Referring to one of those obligations, Yeltsin said that his country would observe a ban on the death penalty, and used the occasion to criticize Chechnya for the recent conduct of public executions there. (Russian agencies, October 10)
Following talks with French president Jacques Chirac and German chancellor Helmut Kohl, Yeltsin also announced that he would henceforth hold regular summit meetings with the French and German leaders. "We need to hold these summits to build a new Europe, a Europe that includes Russia and stretches to the Pacific," Yeltsin was quoted as saying. The first of these meetings is to be held next year in Yeltsin’s home town of Yekaterinburg. According to a Russian presidential spokesman, in the talks between Yeltsin and Chirac both men expressed alarm over "stagnation of the peace process in the Middle East" and discussed actions by which France and Russia might help to overcome the deadlock there. Yeltsin has repeatedly called for Europe and Russia to play a greater peace-making role — along with the U.S. — in the region. Both the French and the Russian foreign ministers are expected to visit the Middle East in the weeks to come. (Russian and Western agencies, October 10) Yeltsin and Chirac also discussed the Karabakh conflict. (See item below)
Maskhadov Sacks Islamic Judges.