In support of Chechen cause

  • 2002-11-07

The Estonian parliament's Chechen support group on Monday denounced Russia's refusal to continue talks with Chechen rebel president Aslan Maskhadov and called for an end to Russia's military operations in the breakaway republic.

In a statement on behalf of 14 mainly opposition members of parliament, the group expressed "deep concern over xenophobia by the Russian government and the clampdown on press freedom regarding the coverage of the Chechen question."

"Russia's position, which rules out talks with the lawfully elected Chechen Republic President Aslan Maskhadov, and fabricates unproven evidence against his envoy, is not acceptable," said the statement, read out in parliament by Andres Herkel of the opposition Pro Patria party.

Herkel said the Chechen support group has repeatedly "condemned terrorism in all of its forms, including hostage-taking."

"Russia's position, which identifies the Chechen people with terrorists, does not fit in with the principles that should be represented by a Council of Europe member state," the statement said.

"Such an approach justifies and promotes genocide," the statement went on.