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Yeltsin Addresses New Federation Council

Moscow, Jan. 23 (RFE/RL) Russian President Boris Yeltsin has reiterated Moscow's willingness to conduct what he called "patient dialogue" with Chechens. At the same time, Yeltsin said his government supports the unconditional suppression of terrorism and the "liquidation of terrorists and their ringleaders."

Addressing the first session of the new Federation Council in Moscow, Yeltsin said the solution to Chechnya lies in the holding of elections to legislatures for that republic and a treaty determining the future status of Chechnya.

Yeltsin then called for a moment of silence for Russian soldiers who died while fighting to end the latest Chechen hostage crisis in Dagestan.

Yeltsin added that Russia, in this century, has been through everything from ultra-communism to liberalism and that it was up to legislators to find what he called the "golden medium" between the extremes. He said he envisioned a chamber that served as a link between all the various parties of the Russian Federation." In his words, "Russia's diversity is its strength."

President Yeltsin concluded by praising past Councils for considerably reducing tension in the country. But he urged the Council to improve the quality of its lawmaking.