Council of Europe representative visits Daghestan

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." LF
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