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Russia: Chechen Separatists Renew Call For Oil Talks

By Azer Agalarov

Prague, 9 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- A top official in Chechnya's separatist government has once again called on Russia to involve Chechnya in all Caucasus oil negotiations.

Separatist Deputy Prime Minister Khodzh Akhmed Nukhayev told our correspondent today by phone from Istanbul that the Caucasus region is "a single organism." He says Russia should not negotiate bilateral oil treaties with individual Caucasian states, such as Azerbaijan, but should instead sit down with all the region's political entities to work out a strategic economic plan.

Nukhayev says Chechnya favors close cooperation with Georgia and Azerbaijan. He advocates the use of an oil pipeline running from Azerbaijan through Chechnya to Georgia's seacoast, instead of an alternate route running to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossisk.