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Russia/Chechnya: Chamaev Rules Out Talks On Future Status Of Chechnya

Prague, November 6 (RFE/RL) - The Foreign Minister of the self-proclaimed Chechen government today tells RFE/RL there can be no more talk of the future status of Chechnya.

Ruslan Chamaev told our correspondent by telephone from Istanbul that the issue is now out of the question. Chamaev said it would have been possible to negotiate some kind of autonomy for Chechnya inside the Russian Federation before the war. But he said now, with an estimated 10 percent of the Chechen population killed, any future discussion on the issue is "impossible."

Chamaev was asked about the possibility of Russia giving financial assistance to Grozny. He replied that it is possible, but that he did not expect the money would truly reach the citizens, because of what he termed wide-scale corruption.

Chamaev also told RFE/RL that he and his colleagues were proceeding with an idea forumulated by former Chechen separatist leader Dzhokhar Dudayev. The idea calls for a "common house" of Caucasian peoples. Chamaev gave no details, other than to assert that recent conflicts in the Caucasus, such as the Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia conflicts, were created by Moscow.

Meanwhile, Russian news agencies report that Russia's Security Council at a session in Moscow today reviewed the talks held over the last two weeks with leaders of the self-proclaimed Chechen government.

Russian government envoy to Chechnya, Georgi Kurin, as well as newly appointed deputy secretaries Boris Berezovsky and Leonid Mayorov took part in the meeting, chaired by the Council's Secretary Ivan Rybkin.

The Interfax news agency reports from the Chechen capital Grozny that the Russian federal commandant's offices have been withdrawn from the towns of Argun and Gudermes. The agency reports Russian Interior troops, which were based in Argun, have also been withdrawn.

Quoting a federal army spokesman, Itar-tass says Russian Interior ministry troops came under fire yesterday near the village of Goragorsky, some 50 kilometers northwest of Grozny. The soldiers returned the fire. No casualties were reported in the incident.