Shortly before his scheduled December 9-11 visit to Russia, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell granted an interview to the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Asked whether he would be discussing the situation in Chechnya during his visit to Russia, Powell responded: “As for Chechnya, we’ll repeat our proposal on a political resolution of the conflict there. We were impressed by Vladimir Putin’s recent speech, in which he gave gunmen a seventy-two-hour ultimatum. In my opinion, this speech displayed his intention to politically resolve the conflict. The [Russian] president has received a response to his ultimatum, and we’re hoping that the process of political dialogue will be developed” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 1; translated back into English from the Russian by WPS Monitoring Agency, December 3).