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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chancellor Cautioned On Yeltsin

BONN -- German media warned German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Tuesday not to put all his eggs in Boris Yeltsin's basket in case the Russian president is voted out of office in June.

Concerned that Kohl rushed to Moscow and heaped praise on his friend Yeltsin only days after the Russian leader announced he would seek re-election, political commentators in Germany said the chancellor was playing a dangerous game.

"The chancellor himself has eloquently dispelled the idea earlier backed with holy oaths in Bonn that the trip had nothing to do with the elections," the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeiting commented in a front-page editorial. "It remains to be seen whether such partisanship, supported in Washington and Paris as well ... will in the end help the master of the Kremlin."

Kohl has made clear in public comments he views Yeltsin as a friend and reliable partner who should remain Russia's leader.

Political commentators were especially concerned that Kohl should not let NATO expansion into eastern Europe fall victim to maintaining good ties with Russia.

But Kohl insisted it was possible to take Russia's interests into account and still guarantee countries' rights to join NATO.

The debate shows the fine line Kohl must walk as he balances political realities in Russia against Bonn's intention to help integrate counties like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO and the European Union.

Walter Kolbow, an SPD defense expert, said Kohl and Yeltsin might be right to put off the debate on NATO expansion, but the subject could not remain on hold indefinitely. "This may be right in the short term, but for the long term it is obvious that there is no coherent strategy for a European security architecture that includes Russia," he told Saar radio.