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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kohl Offers Cash for Early Troop Withdrawal

Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Wednesday agreed to put 550 million Deutsche marks toward moving and rehousing former Soviet troops still based in Germany, in exchange for their early withdrawal.


Speaking to a joint press conference inside the Kremlin after his two-day visit. Kohl said that President Boris Yeltsin had agreed to withdraw the last troops from former East Germany by Aug. 31, 1994.


After a speech from Yeltsin focusing on the importance of Russo-German relations for peace. Kohl said he had persisted with his visit to Moscow despite an explosive session of the Congress of People's Deputies in a deliberate effort to show support for the embattled president.


"We knew the visit would take place in the middle of a politically difficult period", Kohl told a press conference held inside the Kremlin to mark the end of his two-day visit.


"But we thought it was important to show solidarity and so to keep a healthy partner in the East".


The two leaders signed a package of eight agreements, among them financial compensation for victims of Russia's Nazi occupation during World War II. Kohl said he believed that would finally free Russian-German relations of "extraneous issues".


The two leaders also agreed on a debt rescheduling package for Russia, opening the way for agreement on the whole of the Paris Club debt. Germany is Russia's largest creditor.


Both leaders stressed discussions on the war in Yugoslavia. Yeltsin reassured Kohl that despite pressure from conservatives -- who passed a resolution requesting an end to sanctions against Serbia during the Congress -- Russia would continue to back international policy on the conflict.


Kohl also met with leaders of Russia's 2 million-strong ethnic German community, many whom are trying to emigrate back to Germany. Yeltsin said that the ethnic Germans would, ultimately, be given an autonomous region inside Russia to live in, either in the Volga region or Western Siberia.


It was clear from Kohl's remarks that he had had more trouble on the issue from the German minority's leaders -- who are not convinced he is doing enough to help them leave Russia -- than from Yeltsin.


"They would not even let me finish what I was saying", Kohl complained.


The chancellor arrived on his first visit to post-Communist Russia with a delegation of German businessmen, and the two leaders said that improving conditions for private German investment and joint ventures was their top priority. They referred to a series of specific contracts that had been arranged during the visit.


Yeltsin appealed to businessmen not to be put off the idea of coming to Russia by what the chaos they saw at the Congress.


"It is hard for businessmen to see", Yeltsin said. "But despite the political arguments, revanchist forces have only a narrow grip on society to hold back Russia's progress".