Yeltsin Aide Seeks to Reassure West on Intent to Continue Reforms


Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin is determined to press ahead with his program of financial stabilization and market reforms despite political setbacks he suffered in Moscow last week, Russia's deputy prime minister for the economy said Sunday.

Boris G. Fyodorov spoke to reporters after meeting here with representatives of the world's so-called Group of Seven leading industrial nations to discuss stepped-up international assistance for Russian reform efforts.

Fyodorov said that Russian Prime Minister Viktor S. Chernomyrdin "specifically asked me to convey a message that there is no reason for hysteria or any feelings that everything is falling apart (in Russia)."

Yeltsin, involved in a power struggle with conservative opponents in the Congress of People's Deputies, is fighting for his own political survival and that of his economic and political reform program.

After three hours of talks with Group of Seven representatives, Fyodorov said that "all ideas we discussed and will be discussing in the future should be linked to the reform process . . . to the concrete usable results. What is important is that financial assistance is well packaged and planned (and) that people feel that this contribution will help (Russia)."

Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Koichiro Matsuura told reporters during a joint news conference with Fyodorov that contacts between Group of Seven officials and Russia will continue.

"Mr. Fyodorov, who is directly responsible for the promotion of economic reform in Russia, has taken great pains to explain to us the present economic conditions in Russia," Matsuura said. "The leaders of the G-7 will continue its intensive discussion . . . on ways and means to support Russia's economic effort."

Fyodorov said the issue of rescheduling Russia's foreign debt was discussed, but he declined to say if any decision was reached on the debt.

Canadian representative Reid Morden, the undersecretary of state for external affairs, said the details of various elements that might go into an aid package, such as debt rescheduling, have to be dealt with one by one.

The former Soviet Union's foreign debt is estimated at $80 billion.

Members of the seven--the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada--invited Fyodorov to the Hong Kong meeting, which is preparing the agenda for the group's annual summit meeting scheduled for July in Tokyo.

Fyodorov's arrival in Hong Kong was itself a milestone in the ending of the Cold War. He was the first senior Russian official granted permission to visit the British colony since East-West tensions began to ease.

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