Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kohl Pushes More Russian Aid

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, in Moscow Wednesday evening during a one-hour stopover on the way home from Asia, told President Boris Yeltsin he was confident that his reforms would succeed.

"Yeltsin is a clever man, a brave man and a fighter", Kohl told journalists after meeting with Yeltsin near Vnukovo II Airport. "He has a realistic assessment of the situation and all the difficulties".

The meeting was Kohl's second visit to Russia in less than three months.

German Embassy official said the chancellor wanted to use the stopover to brief Yeltsin on his talks in Asia, where he made frequent pleas for assistance to Russia.

The visit, which was announced only a few days ago, came at the end of Kohl's two-week visit to India, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea. Kohl emphasized the need to support the Yeltsin government during his visit to Japan, which has been particularly reticent to provide support to Russia. Japan insists that the two countries first resolve their territorial dispute over the four Kuril Islands which Russia seized at the end of World War II.

The pitch is motivated by a German interest in shoring up international support for Russia at a time when it is suffering from the tremendous economic costs of German reunification.

In a press briefing on Saturday in Japan, Kohl said that Germany is at its "absolute limit" in providing aid to Russia.

"I deplore the fact that the Germans have assumed the largest burden" of debt to Russia, he said.

"I should like to encourage you to seize these opportunities now and thereby to play a part in promoting the transition to market economy systems and democracy" in Eastern Europe, Kohl told the National Assembly in South Korea on Wednesday.

As the economic powerhouse of Asia, Japan has the greatest potential to assist Russia. Japan has given less than $3 billion in aid to Russia, compared to $80 billion from Germany.

Germany has essentially been compensating Russia for allowing its former ally East Germany to merge with the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990 and for withdrawing its troops from Eastern Europe. Japan, on the other hand, has failed to make any headway in its territorial dispute with Russia.

Kohl's talks with Yeltsin also covered the conflict in Bosnia, according to Russian television.

Kohl told reporters that he informed Yeltsin to expect an invitation at the summer 1993 World Economic Summit in Tokyo where the world's seven leading-industrial nations will meet.

The German Chancellor also said he will give Yeltsin his support in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

Kohl has repeatedly made efforts to support economic reform in Russia. Most recently, the German leader during his two-day December visit offered debt relief to the Russians and additional funds to speed the withdrawal of Russian troops from the former East Germany.

Speaking before Kohl's arrival, the German Embassy official said: "The Chancellor has shown support for the president and his reform policy in December when he came to Moscow just when the People's Congress finished, and I don't see any change in that".

Yeltsin last visited Germany over the summer of 1992. The frequent meetings have contributed to a warm rapport between Yeltsin and Kohl.

The Wednesday evening discussion between Kohl and Yeltsin comes at a time when the Russian president is fighting a bitter power struggle with the more conservative parliament that is opposed to many of his reforms.