Moscow, 5 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Ivan Rybkin, Russian security council secretary, said today that barriers to providing aid to Chechnya have been lifted, freeing Russian rubles for rebuilding the war-ravaged region. Rybkin did not elaborate, but said some 700,000 million roubles ($120.7 million) could be delivered to Chechnya before the end of the year.
Rybkin spoke after holding talks on Chechnya with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Rybkin said an upcoming meeting between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov would speed up efforts to bring economic relief to Chechnya.
Chechen officials have complained that Moscow has delivered little of its promised aid to restore war-related damage, which a Chechen official yesterday estimated at $260 billion.
Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Akhmed Zakayev flew to Moscow today to lay the groundwork for the Yeltsin-Maskhadov meeting, for which no date has been announced.
Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister Movladi Udugov told ITAR-TASS today that, along with economic aid, the Chechens will push for the signing of a full-scale treaty with Moscow during the planned Yeltsin-Maskhadov meeting.
Yeltsin has said he only supports signing a power-sharing agreement with Chechnya.