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FT: Chechen groups to join terror list

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  • mariuslab2002 <mariuslab@shaw.ca>
    EUROPE: Chechen groups to join terror list By Andrew Jack in Moscow Financial Times; Jan 31, 2003 The US is likely to add several Chechen rebel groups to its
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2003
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      EUROPE: Chechen groups to join terror list
      By Andrew Jack in Moscow
      Financial Times; Jan 31, 2003


      The US is likely to add several Chechen rebel groups to its list of
      foreign terrorist organisations, in a fresh sign of co-operation
      between Washington and Moscow as negotiations continue over the
      crisis in Iraq.

      The move, which could trigger travel restrictions and asset-freezing
      orders from the US, comes as Russia succeeded this week in diluting a
      resolution criticising its policy in Chechnya at the Council of
      Europe, the inter-governmental human rights organisation, in
      Strasbourg.

      A senior US diplomat said yesterday: "We think that there are Chechen
      groups that meet the criteria for designation as terrorist
      organisations.

      "We are moving towards a decision that will probably result in two or
      three Chechen groups being designated terrorist organisations, while
      we continue to look at others."

      His comments reflect previous indications of sympathy for the idea
      from the US administration, and despite concerns last weekend from
      Igor Ivanov, the Russian foreign minister, that Washington was
      engaging in "double standards" by resisting its demands to add
      Chechen fighters to the list.

      Russia has long attempted to brush off foreign criticism of its
      hardline approach in Chechnya against a backdrop of allegations of
      human rights abuse. It has rejected calls for political negotiations
      with rebel leaders and argued that the conflict is part of the
      broader struggle against international terrorism.

      Moscow says five of the 19 men who hijacked US aircraft on September
      11 2001 had previously fought in Chechnya. It points to growing
      international signs that al-Qaeda operatives were based in
      neighbouring Georgia's Pankisi Gorge.

      Russia argues that it has launched a political resolution in Chechnya
      through a referendum on a new constitution on March 23.

      Lord Judd, who led a delegation from the Council of Europe to
      Chechnya last week, called on Moscow to postpone the referendum,
      calling it "meaningless" in the present circumstances.
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