"The Chechen side hopes that a full-scale bilateral treaty which recognizes Chechnya’s independent status and establishes diplomatic relations between the two sides will be signed during Boris Yeltsin’s visit to Grozny," Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov told a press conference in Nazran on December 20. "The issues of Chechnya’s sovereignty and security guarantees for the residents of Chechnya are not a bargaining chip — they are not subject to discussion," he continued. In Maskhadov’s opinion, "if Yeltsin comes and makes this step forward, it will be a real result… But there is no point in simply showing up and talking [if nothing comes of it]." Maskhadov recalled that a number of agreements, including a peace treaty, had been signed during his last meetings with the Russian president in the Kremlin. But, Maskhadov said, the main problem in Russian-Chechen relations at present is that "not one of the agreements has been carried out." (Russian news agencies, December 20)
The outlook for the signing of such a treaty did not look positive yesterday. President Yeltsin’s spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, told journalists that preparations for Yeltsin’s visit to Grozny are continuing, but that the conclusion of a full-scale treaty in the course of the trip is not on the agenda. (RTR, December 22)
Udugov Dismisses "Death Sentence" of Shariah Court Against Yeltsin.