Koshman rejects OSCE mediation in Chechnya

Nikolai Koshman, the Russian government's representative in Chechnya, told the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on 29 February that he sees "no sense" in that organization's repeated offer to mediate talks between the Russian and Chechen leaderships, Interfax reported. Russian leaders have consistently rejected such OSCE mediation offers, saying that Chechnya is Russia's internal problem. But Koshman added that Moscow would welcome a swift resumption of the activities of the OSCE assistance group in Chechnya, which was evacuated to Moscow for security reasons last year. He told the council that the use of force in Chechnya does not violate Russia's OSCE commitments or international law, and he appealed to the international community to adopt what he termed "a balanced approach" to Chechnya. Koshman added that allowing Chechnya to become independent would ultimately lead to the disintegration of the Russian state. LF

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