Alvaro Gil-Robles traveled on 1 December
to Daghestan's Botlikh Raion, which was the scene of heavy fighting in
August-September between Chechen militants led by field commander Shamil
Basaev and federal forces. Also on 1 December, OSCE Chairman-in-Office
Knut Vollebaek said in Seattle, where he is attending the World Trade Organization
meeting, that he has written to Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to
request permission to travel to Chechnya, North Ossetia, and Daghestan
on 13-14 December, according to ITAR-TASS. Vollebaek noted that Moscow
does not currently envisage a political role for the OSCE in Chechnya,
but he did not exclude that "such a role may emerge at a later stage."
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