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Ilyas Akhmadov: ?Chechnya will never be a real subject of Russian Federation?
Today spokesman of the Information Center of Russian-Chechen Friendship Society spoke on the telephone with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of CRI Ilyas Akhmadov, who at present lives and works in Washington.
- Ilyas, please comment on the situation with respect to hostages in Beslan.
- That?s a monstrous act... It?s the top of cymicism to use children for settlement of any problem. I cannot tell anything about those people who did it. Unfortunately, being in Washington, I can judge only on the grounds of the materials elucidating the matter in Mass media. I am sure the leadership of Resistance has nothing in common with this act. The problem is that the range of the war in Chechnya, to our great regret, despite anxiety of the people who were against this war, is expanding, and new masses of people are being involved in it, including those whose goals and tasks are rather obscure.
This monstrous act committed in Beslan... I am praying if only the leadership could reconsider the tactics of releasing the hostages. About 300 children... I fear that there will be attempts to apply the same methods as in the theatre ?Nord-Ost?. I hope the leaders of Russia have made conclusions. But this does not mean that the perpetrators should be given an easy time. I have heard, ostensibly, they threw out a short message, requiring withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya. It is merely foolish... It is obvious that no one is going to withdraw the troops from Chechnya. It will aggravate the situation only and make for the increase of mutual hatred.
It is not easy for me, being here, to bring influence on the situation, and I regret it. I can only appeal to them who committed this monstrous action for prudence. I want to believe that not a single hostage will suffer. I rely on the dicredit of Russian authorities carrying out the negotiations, I know President Dzasokhov, and I have a confidence in his wisdom. Judging by the development of events, he, nevertheless, is trying to control the process of negotiations, I hope for the best, however, it is too early to speak about it... Yet I hope the children?s life will be saved.
- If you had an opportunity, what would you tell those people who are holding the children as hostages?
- I would require of them unconditionally to release the hostages. I would try to explain them that they have chosen a pernicious way, that this is not the way leading to peace, this is the way of further escalation of the conflict. We are not going to settle the conflict using such methods. We are scaring away the West ? the only our hope, which sometimes but still interferes in this bloody conflict. But this kind of actions rank us as real international terrorists, and such actions actually form of us the image of ?Al-Qaeda? and other similar organizations.
- On the other hand, Russian soecial services for a long time have been dreaming of their own ?Al-Qaeda?. Unfortunately, for the past few days we have been witnessing something like that. However, I rely on prudence, I wish the participants of this tragedy prudence, because the children?s life is invaluable. No problems can be settled by these methods, no objects can be achieved using these methods.
- As you know, correspondent of ?Radio Liberty? Andrei Babitsky managed to spend several days in one of the bases of Chechen Resistance in the mountains of Chechnya. Since then, i.e. since last summer more and more have been told about the increasing share of Islamic fundamentalism in the ideology of this struggle. And that the Resistance has been extremely radicalized. How, to what extent, in your opinion, do these extremely radical elements influence on the position of Aslan Maskhadov?
- As to radicalization, I would like to say the following... Radicalization, most likely, not of a religious plane. That?s radicalization of the people waging a long and hopeless war. You see, the leadership of Russia, on the one hand, taboos any attempt of carrying out talks about the real, civilized way out of the situation, and anyone who tries to approach this problem, becomes a victim. The lack even of the feeble signal from Russia that they are ready to change their policy concerning Chechnya. On the other hand, in general outline, cynical concealment of the problem in the West ( I mean, at official policy level)...
Of course, people in this slaughter-house, lacking any signal of this kind, cannot see the outlooks of real resolution of the conflict, and to the extent of their comprehension of the situation suggest their own methods and ways of putting an end to this war. Having spoken about this poroblem many times, I always pointed out that the longer the war would drag on, the more silence would be around it, the more Russia would persist in unwillingness of real political settlement of the conflict, the more people relying on Kalashnikov gun only would resort to force. That is not difficult to understand!
But you see, despite everything Maskhadov is trying to proceed with his line of conduct. Despite absolute, sometimes even not inelligent disdain of his appeals. Maskhadov?s appeals, his calls to start peace negotiations are considered by the Kremlin as weakness. On the other hand, despite the fact that I am too far from there, and, possibly, have not quite clear idea of the present real mechanisms of this conflict, for I haven?t been there for four years, however, I am trying to maintain close contact... I can officially assure you that having received a real signal concerning political will of Russian leadership and that of the West to stop this monstrous and terrible tragedy, Maskhadov is strong and influential enough to take the process of settlement of the conflict under his control. But in case of continuation... Look, terrible August and the beginning of September... It is six years this conflict is going on, and the most terrible is that all this has become an everyday life for all of us, who, to some extent, are involved in this conflict.
That?s a great tragedy. If earlier, at least before the new parliamentary elections in Russia?s State Duma there were certain persons who tried to speak about this problem that, unfortunately, always resulted in failure (you remember the late Shekochikhin), now you can see who are the members of State Duma today! There is not a single tribune in Russia, where people can speak about this situation with alarm. That?s the problem. Radicalization can be under existing conditions. Do you realize five years in the war, having no rights and absolutely no guarantees of life?...Such a situation will not fill anyone with the best feelings, I assure you.
- As to us, unfortunately, we do not doubt about it. And one more question, now with regard to the peace resolution plan of ?Conditional Independence through International Administration? launched by you. One can frequently come accross the statement in the Press that the support to this plan is the lot of political marginals in the West. Tell me, please, has this plan of peace resolution to the conflict really gained a noticeable support?
- Judging by the list of signatories, we can conclude that the plan has been supported by many people who cannot be considered the marginals. Moreover, I have to admit, although those were informal meetings, but I have spoken with the representatives of Foreign Ministries of many European countries...
Of course, under the position taken by the Kremlin this plan seems Utopian, but on the other hand, everyone notes that in the presence of political will of Moscow, this is the only optimal way to stop this monstrous tragedy. And, of course, this plan has not been considered by official leadership of Russia, at any rate, I have not seen any document.
But there are many positions which could have been controlled by Russia as the memeber of the UN Security Council; Moscow could have controlled the mechanism of resolution to the conflict without prejudice to the Russian State; it could have controled the mechanism of establishment of the provisional international administration in our republic, if it had been concerned with the situation on the southern frontier, at least from the direction of Chechnya. It is clear, Chechnya will never be a real subject of Russian Federation. Too much blood has been shed. Too much...
Information Centre of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, Press Release N 946, 2 September 2004.
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