Leading members of the Russian Duma reacted with fury yesterday to news that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has invited Chechen chief-of-staff Aslan Maskhadov, along with Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed, to its meeting in Strasbourg to give European parliamentarians an account of the Khasvyurt peace accords. Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev and the chairman of the international affairs committee, Vladimir Lukin, have written a letter to PACE chairwoman Leni Fischer saying that representatives of other sides to the Chechen conflict, including Doku Zavgaev’s Moscow-backed government, should also participate in the discussions. Otherwise, the Russian delegation will boycott the assembly, the letter warns. (Itar-Tass, September 11) Lukin told Russian television that Maskhadov’s invitation constituted "crude and unprecedented interference" in Russia’s internal affairs. Any account of the peace accords to the Council of Europe should be conducted behind closed doors, not in a public assembly, and all parties to the Chechen conflict should be represented, he said. (ORT, September 11)
Russian Justice Minister Gives Khasavyurt Accords Thumbs-Down.