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Pro-Russian Chechen Leader Rules Out Separatist Talks

17 March 2005 -- Pro-Moscow Chechen administration head Alu Alkhanov today ruled out any talks with separatists in the republic.

Alkhanov said last week's killing of Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov by Russian forces shows that Moscow's policy toward Chechnya is bringing results.

Speaking at a one-day conference in Grozny, Alkhanov was quoted as saying "the latest events in Chechnya show that the course we have chosen is heading in the right direction."

Alkhanov said no one would force him to sit down at the negotiating table "with terrorists and abandon the path of prosperity and stabilization of the republic."

The conference in Grozny comes ahead of a conference the Council of Europe is hosting on 21 March on bringing peace to Chechnya.