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Chechnya: Havel Disturbed by the Situation in Chechnya

Prague, 23 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Czech President Vaclav Havel is distressed by the development of the conflict in Chechnya, says presidential spokesman Ladislav Spacek.

In a statement issued today, Havel says he is deeply disappointed following 20 months of unceasing tragedy and unfulfilled expectations, heightened by what the statement terms "certain optimistic election campaign statements by Russian President Boris Yeltsin."

Recent attacks on Grozny raise doubts about how Russia is respecting the obligations it accepted through membership in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe, says the statement. It says threats of further massive attacks and the fact that control over the troops has been lost are particularly disturbing.

Spacek says Havel hopes Yeltsin will use his authority to end the fighting and help establish mechanisms to ensure that ceasefires are respected, preventing further military operations and suffering among the civilian population.