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Council of Europe Condemns Chechnya Cease-fire Violations

Prague, July 12 (RFE/RL) -- The President of the 39-nation Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has condemned the recent violations of the ceasefire between Russian and Chechen forces in Southern Chechnya.

In a statement issued late yesterday, Leni Fischer said that "it is partiuclarly disturbing that the cease-fire is broken so soon after the Russian presidential election." She called for an immediate end to what she called "unacceptable" Russian military operations in the area, specifically citing "air attacks against civilian targets."

Fischer, a German Christian Democrat elected asssembly president earlier this year, recalled that Russia had formally committed itself to finding a peaceful solution to the Chechen crisis when it was admitted to membership in the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe in March.

She called on both sides to refrain from further violence and to respect, fully and unconditionally, the terms of the framwork cease-fire accord signed on May 27. Otherwise, she said, the result would be an endless and bitter war without any hope for solution.