Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 87

Russian president Boris Yeltsin restated yesterday in a televised interview his intention, first announced on May Day, to visit Chechnya in the near future. He listed his goals as: "First of all to thank the military, who have done a big job; meet with Chechen elders; and thirdly, give a boost to talks." The president went on to call for tripartite talks involving Moscow, the Grozny authorities, and "the opposition." Yeltsin said that he could never have consented to meet with the late Djohar Dudaev who was slain April 22. "But now, if there are any progressive forces within the opposition, I am prepared to meet with them and hold talks." The offer looks too hedged with preconditions to be successful with the resistance.

Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov for his part called for the armistice monitoring commission to be immediately reconvened and for its work to resume in Shali. That district center in eastern Chechnya has been sealed off by Russian forces in apparent preparation for an assault. Shali has been the scene of quasi-permanent pro-independence rallies. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, May 2 & 3)

Yeltsin Meets with Lebed.