Statement by OSCE Chairman-in-Office on the Conflict in Chechnya

VIENNA, 29 December 1999 -- The Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, Foreign Minister of Norway Knut Vollebaek, urges the Russian Federation to do everything in its power to prevent further human suffering caused by the conflict in Chechnya. He reiterates that all efforts must be made to facilitate international humanitarian assistance in this respect.
The large remaining civilian population in Grozny is still subject to a disproportionate and indiscriminate use of military force. In particular children and elderly must be expected to be ill, injured or otherwise unable to leave Grozny under the duress of military hostilities. The Chairman-in-Office reiterates his appeal for an immediate ceasefire to allow an evacuation of the civilian population of Grozny.

The Chairman-in-Office also expresses great concern about the regional implications of the conflict in Chechnya. The conflict might endanger regional security and stability.

The Chairman-in-Office encourages the Russian Federation to agree to a role for the OSCE in establishing a dialogue with a view to a political solution to the conflict and in order to alleviate human suffering.

The Chairman-in-Office underlines the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and condemns terrorism in all its forms.