Ingushetia’s President Ruslan Aushev says there are plans for the presidents of Russia’s North Caucasus republics to meet in Grozny shortly with Chechnya’s President Aslan Maskhadov. Aushev was speaking after meeting with Maskhadov himself. The North Caucasus leaders intend to discuss ways of building trust and stability in the region. The main problem at present, however, Aushev said, is Moscow’s failure to provide the financial support it has promised to rebuild the Chechen economy. If there is any restoration going on in Chechnya, he continued, it is thanks only to the efforts of the local inhabitants. If Russia considers Chechnya part of the Russian Federation, Aushev said, it should put its money where its mouth is and implement the agreements it has signed to finance the restoration of the republic’s war-ravaged economy. (NTV, March 4)
Maskhadov is due to make an unofficial visit to London next week to meet with British government officials and potential British investors in Chechnya. Prior to his departure, he has issued an ultimatum to the kidnappers of British aid workers Camilla Carr and Jon James, who were abducted in Chechnya last year. Appealing to the kidnappers’ patriotic feelings, Maskhadov said that, if the two young Britons remain in custody, demands for their release will monopolize his meetings in London and he will come away empty-handed. He said the repercussions of the murder of Fred Cuny, the American aid specialist who disappeared in Chechnya during the war, had undermined his efforts to attract US investment in Chechnya when he visited Washington last fall. (ORT, March 3)
Russian Intelligence Agency Expounds its Successes.