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08/24/1998 07:20:39 Yeltsin meets new acting PM Chernomyrdin - Kremlin

MOSCOW, Aug 24 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin met

acting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on Monday, hours after

dismissing the four-month-old government of Sergei Kiriyenko,

the Kremlin press service said.

"The meeting started at 11 a.m. (0700 GMT)," a spokeswoman

told Reuters by telephone, giving no further details. Earlier on

Monday Yeltsin had asked parliament to confirm Chernomyrdin, a

veteran ally, as permanent prime minister.

Yeltsin sacked Kiriyenko's cabinet on Sunday evening without

explanation.

Russia is fighting a severe economic crisis that has forced

an effective rouble devaluation and a 90-day moratorium on debt

repayments. Kiriyenko's team recently clinched an emergency

funding deal with international lenders worth a total of $22.6

billion to help avert financial collapse.

Chernomyrdin, 60, served Yeltsin loyally for more than five

years until his abrupt dismissal in March. The president said he

had failed to push market reforms with sufficient vigour.

Yeltsin now faces a tough battle persuading the State Duma,

Russia's Communist-dominated lower house of parliament, to

approve Chernomyrdin's appointment.

Foto: REUTERS

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