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Tuesday, 14 April, 1998, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Yeltsin decides to signs looted art bill

President Yeltsin has decided to sign into law a parliamentary bill which forbids the return of art treasures looted from Nazi-occupied territory during the Second World War.

A spokesman for the President Sergei Shakrai said Mr Yeltsin would sign the bill but would challenge the Constitutional Court ruling that he could not block laws approved twice by parliament.

Mr Yeltsin says the bill will harm Russia's international relations and its efforts to recover its own art from abroad.

Parliamentarians believe the stolen treasures were fair compensation for the war-time suffering endured by Soviet citizens.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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