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Moscow Says Chechens Will Attend Talks

Moscow, June 3 (RFE/RL) -- Russian negotiators said today that the Chechen separatist leadership has agreed to attend scheduled talks tomorrow in the Ingush capital Nazran.

Itar-tass quotes officials in Russia's government commission on Chechnya as saying the separatists have agreed to the talks, but an exact time for the start of the meeting has not yet been set. Negotiations are to focus on implementing the ceasefire agreement reached last Monday by Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chechen separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, and a prisoner swap.

Talks were planned originally for Saturday in Makhachkala, capital of nearby Dagestan.

Meanwhile, fighting continues in Chechnya. Six Russian soldiers were reported killed and 11 wounded overnight in the capital Grozny, after a mine explosion. Itar-Tass quoted Lt. Gen Andrei Ivanov, a Russian negotiator and representative of the Russian General Staff, who said the Russian-Chechen ceasefire was in "real danger" of breaking down. Nikolai Fyodorov, a Russian envoy to the region from the Council of Europe, said the ceasefire agreement existed only on paper.