Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 100

Chechnya’s first deputy premier, Movladi Udugov, says Chechnya has accepted the formal apology offered by Russian Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin for an incident yesterday in which a plane carrying Chechen vice president Vakha Arsanov was intercepted over southern Russia by Russian fighter planes. Arsanov refused to land for a customs check and was forced to return to Djohar-gala. He was traveling to the Netherlands at the head of the Chechen delegation to the third annual conference being held under the auspices of the "Hague Initiative." Rybkin blamed "overzealous officials" in the Russian customs service who must not, he said, be allowed to disrupt the fragile trust being built between Moscow and Djohar-gala. Udugov said Arsanov has withdrawn his threat to retaliate by expelling all Russian officials from Chechnya and that Chechnya considers the incident to be over. (Interfax, NTV, May 20; Itar-Tass, BBC World Service, May 21)

Russian Government Calls for Steep Spending Cuts.