On June 6, Ambassador Stephan Minikes, head of the United States mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in an address to the Permanent Council of the OSCE based in Vienna, stated inter alia: “The [OSCE] Assistance Group continues to be the only permanent international presence in Chechnya. As such, the United States considers the Group’s reporting, and its work there, one of their most valuable resources on, and efforts in, Chechnya. The United States continues to be concerned about the situation in Chechnya. As Secretary of State Powell said in Rome last week: ‘Russia is fighting terrorists in Chechnya, there is no question about that, and we understand that’…. At the same time, we continue to believe that only a political solution can end the conflict in Chechnya…. Like Ambassador Inki [of Finland], we, too, support further transfer of powers to, and development of the local administration [of pro-Moscow leader Akhmad Kadyrov] in Chechnya. Pursuant to its mandate, we encourage the Assistance Group to continue offering assistance in the drafting of a constitution for Chechnya” (usinfo.state.gov, June 6).