Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 103

As expected, Western governments yesterday reacted positively, but also with some wariness, to the cease-fire agreement between Russia and Chechnya. White House spokesman Mike McCurry said that the United States "welcomes the apparent agreement" between the two sides, but that Washington would also "be watching closely to see that the agreement is implemented, that the ceasefire takes effect Friday, and that hostilities end in a conflict that has gone on tragically for too long." He said later that further talks would be required to effect a lasting peace in Chechnya. The Clinton administration has been among the Western governments least critical of Russia’s bloody operations in the Caucasus.

In Europe, London and Paris each applauded the agreement. A French Foreign Ministry spokesman called for dialogue at the highest level to continue in order to bring an end to the long suffering of the population. In Germany, Russia’s closest European ally, one daily newspaper suggested that the ceasefire could boost Yeltsin’s chances for reelection, but another posed the more disturbing question of why tens of thousands of lives had to be lost before "the false belief" that the conflict could be resolved by force was finally laid to rest. (Reuter, May 28)

Yandarbiev Delegation Cautiously Hopeful on Moscow Agreement.