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Russia: Chechens To Guarantee Safety Of International Monitors

Moscow, 30 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin says Chechen separatist authorities will be responsible for the safety of international monitors in next month's presidential and parliamentary elections in the breakaway republic.

In an RFE/RL broadcast, Rybkin again reiterated Russia's commitment to "democratic, free and fair" elections in Chechnya. He said that Russia does not object to international observers monitoring the January 27 ballot but it is up to the Chechen authorities to guarantee their safety.

Rybkin rejected earlier Chechen allegations that Russian security forces might be behind the killings of International Red Cross workers earlier this month and urged Chechen authorities not to go along a "wrong track." Rybkin said that currently in Chechnya there are people who would not like to see a settlement of the Chechen conflict, including "guests who have been invited to come and now do not want to leave."