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Chechnya: Transcript of Russian FM remarks at joint press conference following talks with OSCE Chairman-in-Office

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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
DAILY NEWS BULLETIN 05.02.2003
Transcript of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov's Remarks at Joint Press Conference Following Talks with OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Acting Netherlands Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Moscow, February 4, 2003

280-04-02-2003

We have just finished very substantive talks with the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Acting Netherlands Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. The questions of OSCE activities were in the center of attention. Our fundamental assessments of the importance of this organization, its role and place in the modern European architecture coincide. Russia will closely cooperate with the Dutch presidency to make the OSCE an even more efficient organization.

One of the major areas of OSCE activities is countering many threats and challenges in all of their forms, primarily international terrorism. We stated that the Charter on Preventing and Combating Terrorism adopted in Porto (Portugal) provides a good basis for developing cooperation among all the OSCE member states in the fight against this evil. The Russian side expressed support for the determination of the Chairman-in-Office to balance out three OSCE "baskets". We also touched upon a number of regional problems in the OSCE area. In connection with the expiration of the mandate of the OSCE Assistance Group in the Chechen Republic, we discussed the possibilities and organizational conditions for cooperation with the OSCE on Chechnya. In particular, we agreed that a technical OSCE group will be sent to the Chechen Republic within the context of the upcoming constitutional referendum there. Simultaneously we will begin discussing issues connected with a longer OSCE presence in Chechnya. We are grateful to the Chairman of the Central Election Commission, Alexander Veshnyakov, who took part in our discussion and gave us complete and detailed information about the preparation of the referendum and answered all the questions our colleagues had.

I would like to emphasize that Russia is satisfied with the successful development of Russian-Dutch relations in all areas. In particular, we are now drafting a joint program of action between Russia and the Netherlands in 2004-2005, and we are interested in further enhancing our political dialogue at the high and top levels between our two countries.

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