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Europe's Top Rights Body Urges Chechen Talks

Moscow rejected Maskhadov's recent urge for talks (file photo) 14 February 2005 -- Europe's top human rights body said today that talks were needed to end the conflict in the breakaway southern Russian republic of Chechnya.

Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis told Ekho Moskvy radio that only negotiations can end the bloodshed in Chechnya.

The Kremlin recently rejected an offer of peace talks by Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov in the wake of a unilateral rebel cease-fire, saying it did not deal with "terrorists."

Davis, speaking ahead of talks with Russian officials, also insisted Moscow must do more to meet the 46-member organization's standards.

He snubbed a Russian demand for an end to the body's monitoring of legislative and judicial reform that Russia pledged to implement when it became a member in 1996.