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Chechnya: Lebed's Peace Plan Needs Serious Improvement, Say Officials

Moscow, 29 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Security chief Aleksandr Lebed's peace plan for Chechnya requires serious improvement, senior Russian officials in Moscow concluded today. No details emerged on what must be done.

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin chaired the meeting on the peace plan. It was held at the request of President Boris Yeltsin, who is vacationing outside Moscow.

Russia's defense and interior ministers, the head of the security service, the justice minister, the speakers of both houses of parliament and Lebed attended.

The participants concluded that Lebed's plan of action on Chechnya required serious improvement, said Viktor Konnov, a spokesman for Chernomyrdin.

Konnov added that Chernomyrdin was extremely worried by what he said were ceasefire violations by the Chechen rebels, in particular their formation of local administrations and alleged attacks on members of the Moscow-backed Chechen authorities.

Lebed brokered a ceasefire with the rebels last week and has since been trying to win Yeltsin's backing for his peace plan, which includes a military as well as a political settlement.

Meanwhile, Russian General Protogen Andriyevsky, deputy commander of Interior Ministry troops in Chechnya, told Itar-Tass that some 1,000 Russian troops will be withdrawn from Grozny today. Earlier today, Russian military officials said that some 2,000 Russian troops and 1,900 separatist fighters left Grozny yesterday.

The removal of Russian and separatist forces from the Chechen capital is expected to be complete by Sunday, September 1.