Chechen Official Backs U.S. War on Terrorism
A senior representative of the Chechen government publicly declared
support for the U.S. war against terrorism, making a statement
requested by State Department officials.
After a three-week U.S. visit, Ilyas Akhmadov said continued conflict
in Chechnya is a source of terrorism, alleging that "barbarian
actions of Russian forces on our territory are used by radical
elements" to fuel "extremism both in Chechnya and abroad. Only a
political settlement in Chechnya can completely eliminate the source
of terrorism in our region."
Both sides in the fighting in the separatist province of Chechnya
have been accused of atrocities. The Bush administration has been
urging Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov and Russian President
Vladimir Putin to turn to diplomacy, arguing that the feud cannot be
resolved by force.