(Washington, DC--March 19, 2003) Ilyas Akhmadov, Foreign Minister of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, unveiled a new initiative to bring peace to his war-torn region at a briefing at RFE/RL on March 18. Akhmadov was accompanied by French political philosopher Andre Gluksmann and Olivier Dupuis, who serves on the Constitutional Commission of the European Parliament and is a substitute member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Akhmadov offered a plan for resolving the crisis that he compared to that in Kosovo or East Timor: that the United Nations would assume responsibility for a resolution; Russian troops would withdraw in favor of a UN peacekeeping contingent; the multinational force would pacify the region and set the foundation for representative institutions and eventual elections. The plan (which can be viewed online at www.peaceinchechnya.org/peaceplans.htm
) would help Chechnya, he said, because it would be a guarantee of its existence and open the road to statehood. It would help Russia because it would stabilize the area remove a danger on its flank. Achieving peace "is an antiterrorist necessity," Akhmadov noted.
Akhmadov saw little hope that the March 23 referendum, which asks voters to approve a new constitution and regards Chechnya as an "integral and inseparable part of the Russian Federation," would bring a stable, viable peace to Chechnya. In particular, he criticized the fact that, according to the Russian Constitution, Russian soldiers stationed there would be allowed to vote.
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