Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 33

On October 29, Agence France Presse, reporting from the White House in Washington DC, wrote that Ari Fleischer, official spokesman for President George W. Bush, had emphasized that the American president wanted a “political dialogue” to end the conflict in Chechnya but worried that global terrorists might be operating there. “Clearly, to the degree that there is al-Qaeda operating, international terrorists operating in Chechnya is a source of concern,” Fleischer said. “But the president does believe that the ultimate solution to the crisis in Chechnya must be resolved through political dialogue.”

Two senior U.S. State Department officials were reported by AFX News on October 31 to have confided that the United States is studying a Russian request to place several Chechen groups on its terrorism blacklist and to subject them to economic and travel sanctions. “Both officials confirmed that Washington was looking into placing the groups on its list of ‘foreign terrorist organizations’ that would subject them to asset freezes, a visa ban and bar fundraising activities in the United States.”