DAILY NEWS BULLETIN 04.03.2003
On the Trip Made to Russia by Experts of the OSCE ODIHR and the Council of Europe to Assess the Course of the Preparations for a Constitutional Referendum in Chechnya
A joint group of experts from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Council of Europe for assessment of the course of the preparations for a constitutional referendum in the Chechen Republic stayed in Moscow and Chechnya from February 26 to March 4. The trip took place at the invitation of Russia's Central Election Commission and the Administration and the Election Commission of Chechnya. The experts held a series of meetings with leaders of the Chechen Republic and with senior officials of the Central Election Commission of Russia and the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, and studied the election situation in localities.
Based on the trip's results, progress was stated in the evolution of the internal situation in Chechnya and the importance of the constitutional referendum to be held on March 23 for further political stabilization and the normalization of peaceful life was acknowledged. The European experts recommended considering the possibility of sending OSCE ODIHR and Council of Europe representatives to Chechnya directly at the time of the March referendum.
The visit of the group of experts is one more testimony to the openness of Russia for constructive cooperation with international organizations on Chechnya. Support of the upcoming referendum from international institutions is of great importance both legally and politically, which will aid the consolidation of law and order in Chechnya, a full-fledged entry of the Republic into the legal field of the Russian Federation and the complete restoration there of the norms of peaceful life.
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