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Soldiers' Mothers To Meet With Chechen Envoy

25 February 2005 -- A group of mothers of Russian soldiers is expected to meet in London today with a Chechen separatist rebel envoy for talks on how to stop the war in Chechnya.

Representatives of the Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers, which seeks a negotiated settlement of the war, were expected to meet with Akhmed Zakaev, the London envoy of Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov.

The meeting was expected to take place at the European Parliament office in the British capital.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that if the meeting takes place, it expects the Russian mothers to discuss ways for Chechen rebels to end terrorist activities and surrender to Russian authorities. The ministry said it did not expect the meeting to be fruitful.

The Russian government has refused to negotiate with Chechen rebels. Russian officials also have criticized Britain repeatedly over its decision to provide asylum to Zakaev.