Chechnya: The week in brief: 3 - 9 Feb 2003

News and Press Release
Originally published
Summary of the main news related to the conflict in Chechnya. Compiled by Prague Watchdog.

Monday, February 3

No major events.

Tuesday, February 4

During their meeting in Moscow, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov agreed on sending a technical assessment mission to Chechnya to review the circumstances under which the Chechen constitutional referendum, scheduled by the Kremlin for March 23, will be held.

A total of 38,000 Russian soldiers deployed in Chechnya on a permanent basis will take part in the constitutional referendum scheduled for March 23, said Abdul-Khakim Sultygov, the Russian presidential commissioner for human rights and freedoms in Chechnya.

Wednesday, February 5

At their 12th high-level "3+3" meeting in the Hague, the Council of Europe and OSCE agreed to send a joint needs assessment mission to Chechnya before the constitutional referendum scheduled for March 23.

Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of the Moscow-backed Chechen administration, said that Chechnya needs a new Prime Minister, who would replace Mikhail Babich.

MEPs Ford, Sylla and Dupuis granted detained Chechen politician Akhmed Zakayev, who was arrested at Russia's request by the British police on December 5, a symbolic "passport of freedom".

Thursday, February 6

No major events.

Friday, February 7

No major events.

Saturday, February 8

Premier of the Moscow-backed Chechen government Mikhail Babich announced that he would resign. Babich, who was appointed to his post on November 12 by Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of the Moscow-backed Chechen administrationm, made the announcement during holiday he took after a month-long dispute over the republic's new Finance Minister errupted between him and Kadyrov.

Sunday, February 9

Some 150 people took part in a protest meeting in Berlin against the war in Chechnya, which was organized by German human rights organization the Association for Threatened People (Gesellschaft f=FCr bedrohte Völker) and timed to coincide with the February 9-10 visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Germany.

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