Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov says the treaty he signed on May 21 with Tatarstan’s president, Mintimer Shaimiev, marks the first stage of Chechnya’s opening to the outside world. According to Maskhadov, the economic side of the agreement entered into force immediately, with Kazan dispatching, free of charge, 20 water-pumps to enable Chechnya to supply several districts with fresh water. Maskhadov said Chechnya is negotiating similar agreements with several other Russian regions. An agreement will be signed with Ingushetia in early June and another is being negotiated with Bashkortostan. Maskhadov said organized crime, including the taking of hostages for ransom, is now the main impediment to Chechnya’s successful cooperation with the outside world. (Itar-Tass, May 23, 25)
Yeltsin and Lukashenko Sign Union Charter.