The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is reportedly ready to resume the work of its mission in Chechnya, on condition that the republic authorities provide security guarantees for foreign staff. The subject was discussed during a recent meeting between representatives of the Red Cross and the Chechen leadership in the Chechen capital, Djohar. (Russian Radio, June 7) The ICRC withdrew its mission from Chechnya in December 1996 after six of its staff were killed by unknown gunmen.
The Chechen authorities have announced the establishment of an “anti-crisis committee” in Djohar to combat drug-trafficking, hostage-taking and other forms of crime, while Russia’s Interior Ministry has set up a North Caucasus operations center in neighboring Stavropol. (Izvestia, May 29) Some sixty hostages are at present being held in or near Chechnya, including two Britons, a Ukrainian and President Yeltsin’s envoy to the region, Valentin Vlasov.
LEBED SWORN IN AS GOVERNOR OF KRASNOYARSK.