Danish diplomat Rudolf Thorning-Petersen has been appointed as the new head of the OSCE mission in Chechnya. (Itar-Tass, April 3) He replaces the highly respected Swiss diplomat Tim Guldimann, who had held the post since January 1996 and who mediated the Russian-Chechen peace negotiations last summer. Guldimann is resigning at his own wish and will leave Chechnya at the end of this month. He is at present reported to be at the center of a dispute within the OSCE over the appointment of a representative to head the OSCE’s new mission in Albania. Some of the OSCE’s participating states want Guldimann to be appointed to that post, but the European Union, led by the Netherlands, is supporting a Dutch diplomat.
The OSCE mission in Chechnya, officially known as an assistance group, has been in place since the beginning of 1995. For the moment, its mandate will remain unchanged. Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov recently asserted that the Russian and Chechen governments are now able to negotiate without outside mediation, but earlier this week Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov described the negotiations as deadlocked. (NTV, April 2)
Duma to Appoint Human Rights Commissioner.