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Meeting of Russian and Chechen Commanders Postponed

Moscow, July 24 (RFE/RL) -- A planned meeting of Russian and Chechen commanders was postponed today as fighting continued in southern Chechnya.

Tim Guldimann, head of the Organization For Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) office in Chechnya, said the planned meeting between the commander of Russia's North Caucasus military district, General Anatoly Kvashin, and the separatist chief of staff, Aslan Maskhadov, was postponed due to "technical reasons."

Guldimann said there were "phone connection" problems between the separatists and Russian forces and that the meeting would be rescheduled soon.

The encounter had been scheduled to take place in a village near the Chechen capital, Grozny. Kvashin and Maskhadov were expected to focus on how to stop the current fighting and implement peace agreements reached last month by Russian and Chechen negotiators.

Fighting is reported continuing in southern Chechnya today, especially around the strategic town of Bamut, southwest of Grozny. Russian forces say they are still holding the town, which they captured in May.

The Russian command says four interior ministry troops were killed and six wounded overnight in fighting near Bamut.