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    IVAN RYBKIN NOT TO WITHDRAW FROM PRESIDENTIAL RACE

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    LONDON, February 29, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Smotrov) - Presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin said in a RIA Novosti interview on Saturday evening that he would return to Moscow in the next few days for further campaign.

    Mr Rybkin said a meeting of his Moscow and London election teams took place in London on Saturday. The meeting involved some ten persons, including Mr Rybkin himself, his Moscow campaign manager Ksenia Ponomaryova and the candidates' authorized representatives Platon Yelenin (also known as fugitive Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky who has received political asylum in Britain) and Yuli Dubov.

    When asked whether he planned to pull out from the presidential race, Mr Rybkin said he would not withdraw his candidature.

    Ivan Rybkin, who is running for the Russian presidency, disappeared mysteriously on February 5 and was missing several days. His wife, Albina, reported his disappearance to the police.

    On February 10, Mr Rybkin surfaced in Kiev, said he was all right and returned to Moscow the same day.

    On February 11, he made a live statement on the Ekho Moskvy radio that he had not been threatened into staying in Kiev or held there by force. Mr Rybkin said he had gone to Kiev to hold a series of meetings with politicians and businessmen.

    On February 12, Mr Rybkin arrived in London for discussions with Platon Yelenin, who finances his election campaign, and said that he would not be back in Moscow until the March 14 election and would be campaigning from London.

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