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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kozyrev, Kinkel Set For Chechnya Talks

Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev plans to meet German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel in Geneva this weekend to discuss the crisis in Chechnya, Interfax said Thursday.


Germany has stepped up its criticism of Moscow's use of force in Chechnya in recent days and Interfax said the meeting was being held at the initiative of Kinkel.


In Bonn, Chancellor Helmut Kohl condemned the bombing of civilians and warned Russia it was putting its reputation on the line, but added that he was proud to be a friend of President Boris Yeltsin.


Speaking in an emotional parliamentary debate on Chechnya, Kohl rejected leftist opposition charges that he was dragging his feet and not doing enough to end the war.


"I'm proud that I was able to build a friendly relationship with Yeltsin," Kohl said. "What a pitiful sort of man I would be if one of my friends had difficulties and I refused to support him."


"Even if Yeltsin has made mistakes, I will not write him off now," said Kohl, Yeltsin's staunchest Western ally.


But he said the Russian bombing of civilians in Grozny was "a catastrophic development" and was no way to achieve a peaceful solution.


"We decidedly reject it," he said.


Kohl, who has been speaking to Yeltsin on a Bonn-Kremlin telephone hotline, said he had used every opportunity to make clear that Russia had the right to defend its territorial integrity but was also obliged to respect human rights.


"I told Yeltsin that the question of its reputation will be seen in connection with these developments," Kohl said.