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Russia: Chechen President Again Offers To Negotiate With Moscow

Moscow, 12 November 1999 (RFE/RL) - Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov today again offered to enter into negotiations with Moscow to end the fighting in his republic. A statement from Maskhadov was read today during a meeting in the Russian capital of the Chechen State Council, an assembly representing the interests of the Chechen diaspora in the CIS. In the statement, Maskhadov said he is ready for a joint struggle with Russia against gangsterism and terrorism. But Deputy Kremlin chief-of-staff Igor Shabdurasulov said it does not make sense to talk with Maskhadov since he is not in charge of the situation in Chechnya. Shabdurasulov said talks may be held instead with other Chechen officials, such as former Grozny Mayor Bislan Gantamirov.

Gantamirov was today approved as chairman of the Chechen State Council at their congress in Moscow. He said he will fly to Chechnya in the near future to -- in his words -- "establish order" there.

In Chechnya, federal troops raised the Russian flag in Chechnya's second-largest city, Gudermes, according to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Russian forces are searching for Islamic guerrillas believed to be hiding in the city.