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Chechnya: Maskhadov Agrees To Head Coalition Government

Grozny, 17 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Chechen separatist chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov says he has agreed to head a provisional coalition government in the breakaway republic.

Maskhadov told RFE/RL in Grozny today that separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev had twice offered him this position in the past, but that he gave his formal agreement only yesterday, at a meeting of separatist field commanders.

Following the August peace accord signed by Chechen separatists and Russia, the separatists' leadership has proposed the creation of a coalition government in the republic, including pro-Moscow Chechen officials.

Chechen separatists leaders have also declared their intention to press ahead with parliamentary and presidential elections in Chechnya, to take place at the end of January.

Russian officials have expressed concern at the unilateral nature of the decision, stressing that a joint commission due to be set up to coordinate the peace process in Chechnya must be involved in the electoral process.

Maskhadov told our correspondent that today he had met in Grozny with visiting Security Council Deputy Secretary Sergei Kharlamov and they had discussed the existing organs of power in the republic, ahead of the separatist-planned election.