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Tuesday, 12 May, 1998, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Online Yeltsin vows action on India
I like the Internet, the Russian leader told a worldwide online audience
"I like the Internet," the Russian leader told a worldwide online audience
The Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, in his first interview over the Internet, has said he will tackle India over its underground nuclear tests when he makes a planned visit to the country.

Mr Yeltsin typed in an Internet chat forum that Russia was surprised at India's action. He also wrote about the state of his health and the possibility of running for president again in 2000.

The interview took place live inside a chat room hosted by the MSNBC news site and linked to the Kremlin. It involved Mr Yeltsin dictating typed answers that came up on screen to questions e-mailed to him.

On India's nuclear tests, he said Russia had very good relations with the country and he would try to resolve the problem when he made an official visit.

"The future belongs not to nuclear weapons, in the final analysis we will eliminate nuclear weapons," he said.

'Good health'

Asked about his health, Mr Yeltsin said he was in good order. He had been up since 4am that morning, worked since 5am and had a long day ahead.

"Now I'm in good health - in the future I don't know," he said. "As for the presidency in the year 2000, we have two years ... we'll see."

He discounted suggestions that his daughter might run for the presidency, saying dismissively that Russian society was not prepared for his daughter nor any other woman leader.

Mr Yeltsin appeared to enjoy his half-hour chat, in which around 1,000 users took part, and offered to participate in another soon. "I like this form of communication - the Internet," he added, then signed off.

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