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Clinton’s Trip to Russia Still On

August 23, 1998

EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) _ President Clinton, due at a Moscow summit in just over a week, will go ahead with the trip despite Sunday’s shakeup in the Russian government, a spokesman said.

The United States’ priority is that necessary economic reforms move forward, said P.J. Crowley, spokesman for Clinton’s National Security Council. ``Those policies are not specifically based on personality,″ he said.

``We’ll continue to work closely with the Russian government and watch the situation closely as it evolves.″

Yeltsin dismissed Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko and the rest of his government in a surprise announcement Sunday. Another White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. intelligence officials earlier told Clinton to expect ``some sort of Cabinet shakeup″ from Yeltsin.

Capping a week of turmoil affecting Russia’s economy and its currency, Yeltsin said Sunday he was reappointing former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. During an earlier tenure as prime minister, Chernomyrdin worked closely with Vice President Al Gore and other U.S. officials but was fired by Yeltsin in March.

An official in Gore’s office said Kiriyenko telephoned the vice president after his dismissal to thank him for their past working relationship and to signal a desire to keep working for economic reform. The official, who asked not to be identified by name, said Gore then telephoned Chernomyrdin, who also expressed a desire to move forward on economic improvements.

Crowley said Sunday the United States hopes Chernomyrdin’s first order on his return will be to ``work closely with the federal assembly, international financial institutions, leading sectors within the Russian economy and private investors, and others to improve the economic situation in Russia and restore investor confidence.″

Clinton is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard until Aug. 30. He leaves Aug. 31 for two days of summit meetings with Yeltsin and members of the Russian parliament in Moscow.

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