Addressing the meeting, Russia's permanent representative to OSCE, O.N. Belous, said that the characterization of what was happening in Chechnya as a conflict was unacceptable. Acting on her own territory, the Russian authorities are taking resolute measures to put an end to acts of terrorism. In doing so, in particular, they are complying with their international commitments and seeking to restore constitutional order in the Chechen Republic, which is a subject of the Russian Federation. He reaffirmed that there were no grounds whatsoever for raising the question of international mediation, including OSCE mediation.
Russia is consistently demonstrating her openness in matters related to the situation in Chechnya by admitting numerous delegations to the North Caucasian region. In this context the Russian spokesman reminded the meeting that, by having arranged for a visit of former OSCE Chairman-in-Office Knut Vollebaek to Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, Russia had complied with the relevant provision of the Istanbul Declaration.
The Russian spokesman laid special emphasis on the measures taken by the federal authorities to expedite the return of the population of Chechnya and displaced persons to normal life, to normalize the social and economic situation, to rehabilitate the infrastructure of the republic and to secure civil rights. He noted that one priority in the range of missions related to the settlement of the situation in Chechnya was negotiations, which were being conducted and would continue to be conducted with all the responsible parties in the Chechen Republic, with those who advocated the integrity of Russia and really represented the interests of the Chechen people.
January 24, 2000