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North Ossetian President Refuses to Sign Accord

7 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The president of the southern Russian republic of North Ossetia has refused to sign a Moscow-backed accord aimed at calming tensions with the neighboring republic of Ingushetia.

Relations between the two republics have been uneasy since a 10-day war in 1992, but worsened after last September's hostage-taking at a school in North Ossetia that killed 330 people. A number of ethnic Ingush militants took part in the raid, for which a Chechen rebel commander claimed responsibility.

The Moscow-backed accord calls for the resettlement of Ingush refugees who fled North Ossetia in the 1992 conflict. It was signed yesterday by President Vladimir Putin's envoy to southern Russia (Dmitri Kozak) and Ingush President Murat Zyazikov.

North Ossetian President Aleksandr Dzasokhov refused to sign it, saying that Ingush authorities had improperly increased the number of refugees. (AP/ITAR-TASS)