Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 56

Talks between the Russian and Chechendelegations resumed in Grozny July 20 after a four day break,Itar-Tass reported. Overnight there was heavy fighting in theChechen capital and in several other Chechen towns, the news servicesaid. Russian delegation members were optimistic that an agreementcould be reached that would allow Moscow to declare that it hadmaintained the territorial integrity of the country, while allowingthe government of President Dzhokhar Dudayev to claim that ithad received at least de facto recognition by the Russians. Russiandelegation leader Vyacheslav Mikhailov told Ostankino televisionJuly 19 that "Russia does not recognize the republic of Ichkeriya[the Chechen self-designation] but holds that its president andgovernment actually exist, even though the federal authoritiesconsider them illegitimate." Such an acknowledgment wouldallow the government of Dudayev to coexist alongside Russian Federationrepresentatives and the pro-Moscow Chechen regime in the territoryprior to elections. Whether the Chechen side will accept thisde facto recognition as sufficient remains uncertain; but manyChechens will see this latest Russian concession as yet anotherindication that Moscow will give up more if the Chechens standfirm.

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