Yeltsin cancels meetings, obeys doctors orders to stay home

MOSCOW (AP) — President Boris Yeltsin obeyed doctors’ orders to stay home and nurse his cold Monday, canceling meetings with senior officials and talking to others by phone.
A Communist lawmaker, meanwhile, said he had drafted legislation requiring Yeltsin to undergo an independent medical exam to determine whether he is fit to hold office.
Prominent liberal lawmaker Grigory Yavlinsky, who plans to run for president in 2000 and is recovering from a mild heart attack himself, said all candidates in the race should undergo independent check-ups.
Yeltsin is still feeling the lingering effects of a respiratory infection that forced him to cut short a trip to Central Asia last week and spend several days at a country residence outside Moscow.
Yeltsin canceled meetings with Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Boris Pastukhov, the minister in charge of relations with the former Soviet republics.
Yeltsin’s office said he plans to return to work today at the Kremlin, where he will meet with Primakov and other officials.
Yeltsin, 67, has been plagued by recurring health problems in recent years. He had heart bypass surgery in 1996 and has made fewer and fewer public appearances since then. Each new ailment rekindles speculation about his ability to govern.
But Sysuyev said Monday that Yeltsin’s doctors “have no doubts that the president will be able to serve” the final two years of his term.