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Caucasus: Leaders Meet To Stabilize Multi-Ethnic Region

Kislovodsk, Russia; 2 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Itar-Tass reported that the heads of Russia's North Caucasian republics, territories, and regions met Saturday in the southern Russian spa town of Kislovodsk in a bid to stabilize the multi-ethnic North Caucasian region.

The leaders of Adygeya, Daghestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Chechnya, and the Don, Kuban and Stavropol regions attended the meeting, as did delegations from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

Our correspondent in Yerevan notes the Kislovodsk talks started as an initiative of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze. The first "Peace in the Caucasus summit" was held one year ago and was attended by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. This year, Yeltsin did not attend, nor did Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossian.

Itar-Tass says the participants discussed direct economic and cultural ties among the Russian Caucasian regions, including formation of "a common economic area".

The leaders were also to discuss drafting a declaration on mutual understanding, peace and national accord.