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Chechen Commission Approves Talks

Moscow, April 30 (RFE/RL) - Russia's state commission on Chechnya today decided to continue President Boris Yeltsin's peace plan, despite recent events in the war-torn republic.

Our correspondent quotes government officials as saying that the commission today gave the green light to Russian talks with Chechen separatist commanders, in an effort to reach a peace agreement. The commission is headed by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, though today's session was led by his first deputy, Vladimir Kadannikov.

Meanwhile, Itar-Tass quoted a spokesman (Ruslan Martagov) for pro-Moscow Chechen leader Doku Zavgayev, who said Chechen separatist commander Aslan Maskhadov met Zavgayev's personal representative for talks yesterday.

Conflicting reports continue to come in regarding the fate of Chechen separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev. The pro-Moscow Chechen government today backtracked on its assertions that Yanderbiyev had been killed over the weekend. It said it was checking the report. Several separatist sources, including Chechen field commander Doku Makhayev and spokesman Vagap Tutakov both say Yandarbyiev is alive. Yandarbiyev succeeded Dzhokhar Dudayev as the leader of the separatists after Dudayev was killed last week, in what appeared to have been a Russian rocket attack.