Russia

Statement of Boris N. Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation, on the problems of Chechnya

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Today our country is waging a grave battle against international terrorism, which has tossed a brazen challenge to the peoples of russia. This is the, struggle for the lives of russians whom we lost so many in moscow and buinaksk.

This is the struggle for the sovereignty and territorlu integrity of the russian federation. At the same time, it is also a part of joint efforts of the international community to combat international terrorism. I am convinced that those in the west who for some reason have. Failed to realize this, will see that we are in the right. International terrorism has no boundaries. The whole world is its target now.

Thanks to the heroic efforts of the country's soldiers and officers of the armed forces, internal security troops and other enforcement agencies it has become possible to deliver serious damage to the terrorists and bandit groups.

The bandits have been either liquidated or pushed towards the mountains, the major part of the chechen republic's territory which was and will remain an entity of russia is already under control of the federal authorities, also with the assistance of local inhabitants.

As the president of the russian federation i am stating with responsibility that the second stage of the counter-terrorist operation in northern caucasus has been completed successfully. The set tasks have been achieved. We are now entering the third stage. The major goals of this stage are as follows, political. To recreate the whole structure of power bodies in localities and ensure their normal functioning.

Economic. To restore the region's economy. People must have employment and salaries in order to provide for their families. Their houses must have electricity and heating.

Social. To ensure conditions for the r=E3turn of the involuntarily displaced persons, to open schools and hospitals, to start the payment of pensions and social benefits. People should return to normal life. They have had enough of sufferings.

Tremendous work lies ahead because the terrorists have left behind completely devastated land. The infrastructure has been disrupted, enterprises have been looted, all russia is ready to help and is already helping chechnya's population to clear the aftereffects of the bloody outrages of the terrorists.

But it is also important that the peoples of chechnya too join the process of restoration as soon as possible. It is their land and it is for them to revive it.

Terrorists have suffered tremendous losses but have not given up their criminal designs. One cannot exclude further armed raids. New provocations are not ruled out. Therefore, the military part of the operation will be continued commensu'rably with the situation and the task of eradicating terrorism in northern caucasus.

I have taken the decision to issue a decree on deployment in the territory of the chechen republic of a formation of combined armed forces on a permanent basis. Certainly, it will be done with the account of russia's obligations according with the adapted treaty on conventional armed forces in europe. All the quantitative flank limitations of military ware. Imposed by this treaty will be observed.

We are well aware that within the bandit groups there are people who were drawn into them by deceit or by force. I am appealing to them:yield to reason, lay down arms and return to a peaceful life.

I have supported the proposal of the government of the russian federation to work out a draft of the decision of the state duma regarding the amnesty of those who have not committed grave crimes.

Russians! It was more then once that our country has withstood gravest tests with dignity. Let international terrorists of all persuasions remember this forever. This time also, we shall not surrender an inch of our land, there should be no doubt that peace, security and tranquillity in northern caucasus will be ensured!

Moscow, December 3, 1999, ISTANBUL