Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 201

Russian and Chechen negotiators have agreed to hold a conference with the participation of international experts on ways to resolve their dispute. The decision came after the latest round of talks between Russian Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin and Chechen first deputy premier Movladi Udugov ended in an impasse over the weekend. Tensions rose as Chechnya accused Russia of imposing a virtual blockade on the republic and preventing the delivery of food and medical supplies. The border between Dagestan and Chechnya was closed to traffic at all but two points following the weekend killing of one Dagestani policeman in Khasavyurt, near the border with Chechnya, and the abduction of eight others.

The agreement to hold an international conference indicates that both sides now see an urgent need to resolve the conflict in order to ward off threats to the viability of the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline, which transits Chechnya. Rybkin also announced that a team of Russian doctors has gone to Grozny to help treat an epidemic of strongyloidosis — a disease related of hookworm — that has already cost the lives of dozens of people in Chechnya. (BBC, October 26)

Opening of Northern Oil Pipeline a Mixed Bag for Russia.