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Russia/Chechnya: New Accord Will Be Economic, Not Political

Grozny, 14 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - The deputy prime minister of Chechnya's self-proclaimed government says Russia and Chechnya will sign soon an accord covering social needs in war-ravaged Chechnya, but that the accord will not deal with political issues.

Movladi Udugov said in Grozny today that Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and the Prime Minister of Chechnya's self-proclaimed government, Aslan Maskhadov, may sign an accord already next week. However, he said that Russian security council secretary Ivan Rybkin was "wrong to say it would be a political accord."

In Udugov's words, the document "will be an economic accord." Udugov said the accord "means the economies of Chechnya and Russia will work together." He added that it would not provide for the reconstruction of Chechnya's war-ravaged economy, but would cover pensions, social benefits, the reopening of Grozny airport and mutual security guarantees for the period leading to Chechnya's legislative and presidential elections set for January 27.

Udugov said it has not yet been decided where Chernomyrdin and Maskhadov would meet to sign the document.

Chernomyrdin is due to receive a draft plan of the accord today. The head of the Russian government's administrative department, Sergei Stepashin, told Interfax he would personally present the draft, which was worked out two days ago by a bilateral commission of negotiators.

Rybkin, who visited Chechnya for the first time since his appointment earlier this week, said yesterday that Russia and Chechnya were expected in the next two or three days to sign an accord aimed at declaring their economic and political cooperation.