• ACI Russia


BERLIN, Aug 27 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Helmut Kohl

said on Thursday that Russia could not expect any financial

help, either from Germany or the international community, if it

did not pass crucial reforms.

Kohl, who said he was concerned about the crisis in Russia,

also told reporters he planned to speak to U.S. President Bill

Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President

Jacques Chirac about the situation.

Kohl said: "Without the reforms it will not be possible to

mobilise money either from international financial organisations

or from Germany."

He said he wanted to talk to fellow Western government

leaders to sound out what could be done to help push through

Russia's reforms. "If they don't follow through (on reforms) the

situation will look bad," Kohl said.

The chancellor was speaking after the Russian central bank

suspended trading on Moscow's currency exchange, fearing that

the rouble could extend Wednesday's dramatic 40 percent plunge

against the German mark.

Panic spread across the country as people tried to exchange

their rapidly depreciating roubles for scarce dollars. Acting

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin was trying to put together a

government, while President Boris Yeltsin, whose authority is in

question, was holed up at a residence outside Moscow.

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