• ACI Russia

08/27/1998 11:05:24 Minister says Russia still great power amid crisis

MOSCOW, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Russia's bonds may be worth less

than those of Cuba, Cameroon and Vietnam, but Foreign Minister

Yevgeny Primakov on Thursday said the nuclear-equipped nation

was still a great power.

"As I see it, especially now, when we suffer from such

significant difficulties in the economy, there should be an

active international and foreign policy to reinforce our

position as a great power," he told reporters.

He spoke after meeting Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda

Mikhailova in Moscow.

Russia defaulted on some of its international debt last week

and its rouble has fallen dramatically in recent days,

threatening a meltdown of its financial system. Desperate

citizens have crowded banks trying to get their money.

The former spymaster Primakov said he had not yet received a

formal invitation to join the new government of acting Prime

Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, but that he would continue to

serve if asked.

Most analysts do not expect that Russia's Foreign Ministry

will be affected by the latest government shakeup, which began

on Sunday when President Boris Yeltsin sacked Prime Minister

Sergei Kiriyenko and replaced him with Chernomyrdin.

Bulgarian President Petr Stoyanov arrived in Moscow on

Thursday for meetings on Friday with Yeltsin. Yeltsin is to hold

a summit with U.S. President Bill Clinton on September 1-3.

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