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Chechnya: Russian Military Commander Urges End To War

Moscow, 7 June 2000 (RFE/RL) - The commander of Russian forces in the North Caucasus says politicians started the war in Chechnya and they must end it. Interfax quoted General Gennady Troshev making the remark yesterday. He said the politicians are "wasting time" and should have acted long ago. Troshev proposed holding a referendum in Chechnya on its future political leadership. He said the breakaway republic's spiritual head, Mufti Ahmed Kadyrov, should take over as an interim leader. Kadyrov is widely regarded in Chechnya as subservient to Russian politicians.

But he said Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov is "a criminal" with whom there could be no negotiations. Troshev said an elected Chechen parliament should form a government which would have the main task of combating "the bandits and terrorists" and reviving the shattered economy.

Russia's main spokesman on Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, said Moscow is still looking for partners to open negotiations on a political solution. Russia has ruled out talks with Maskhadov.