Russian president Boris Yeltsin has set up a commission to draft a treaty regulating Moscow’s relations with Chechnya. It consists of eight members, including representatives from Russia’s Security Council, Ministry of Nationalities, Finance Ministry, and Justice Ministry. Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin heads the commission, with Yeltsin aide Sergei Shakhrai as his deputy, and has orders to produce a draft by March 31. (Itar-Tass, February 14; Rossiiskie vesti, February 18)
The Kremlin is apparently still hoping that, if it sweetens the pill with enough financial inducements, Chechnya will agree to sign a bilateral treaty like the one Moscow signed with the Republic of Tatarstan in 1994. But that idea was immediately dismissed by Chechnya’s newly appointed minister for foreign policy Issues, Movladi Udugov, who denied Russian media reports that Chechen officials are involved in work on drafting a power-sharing treaty with Moscow. Udugov, whom Maskhadov has nominated to head the team of Chechen officials that will soon open negotiations with Moscow, said the Chechen team will continue to insist on full independence for the republic. "Chechen soldiers did not fight the federal side to revise their positions after the end of the hostilities," he said. (Interfax, February 18)
In addition to Udugov, the Chechen team will include the president of the Southern Oil Company (YUNKO), Khozhakhmed Yarikhanov; Deputy Foreign Minister Yaragi Abdulaev; former presidential candidate Akhmed Zakaev, Interior Minister Kazbek Makhachev; and former vice president Said-Hasan Abumuslimov. Moscow’s team will be led by Security Council secretary Rybkin, and his deputies will be Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailov and the president of Kabardino-Balkaria, Valery Kokov, who is one of the most influential leaders in the Northern Caucasus. (Interfax, February 19)
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