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Russia/Chechnya: Talks In Moscow Postponed Until Tomorrow

Grozny, 15 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Chechen separatist officials will hold talks in Moscow tomorrow with Russian government officials on a draft agreement covering Chechen-Russian relations.

Those talks were originally scheduled to take place today, but Interfax news agency says they have been postponed. The agency says discussions between Chechen and Russian officials continue today in Ingushetia, a Russian Caucasian republic neightboring Chechnya.

No reason was given for the postponement. Movladi Udugov, deputy prime minister of the self-declared Chechen government and separatist National Security Adviser Akhmed Zakayev are now scheduled to fly into the Russian capital later today.

They were expected to hold talks with Russia's Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin. But Itar-Tass quoted a Security Council statement as saying Rybkin is meeting this morning with presidential foreign policy advisor Dmitry Ryurikov and after with Hungary's parliamentary speaker Zoltan Gal. Later today, Rybkin is to travel to the Central russian city of Voronezh, to meet representatives of the Chechen diaspora there.

Yesterday Udugov and Zakayev said they planed to reiterate their demand that Moscow agree to withdraw all its troops. Today's talks were intended to prepare for Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and his Chechen counterpart Aslan Maskhadov to sign an economic accord next week. The accord is to spell out the provision of Russian funds to pay for social needs and to reopen Grozny's airport. The accord will be valid until Chechen elections in January.