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Russia: Agreement On Chechen Oil Pipeline Near

Moscow, 20 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Security Council chief Ivan Rybkin met senior officials today to finalize an agreement with Chechnya on the transport of oil and gas through the breakaway republic.

Interfax news agency quotes the Security Council's press service as saying the agreement is ready to be signed.

The press service said Rybkin chaired a meeting attended by the co-chair of the joint governmental commission on Chechnya, Georgy Kurin, and other security council deputies. The agreement has been held up by disputes over revenue sharing.

A crucial pipeline for exporting oil from Azerbaijan's Caspian fields to Russia' Black Sea port of Novorossisk passes through Chechnya. As part of the peace accord on ending the war in the breakway republic, Russia had agreed to negotiate a deal on sharing profits from the transit of oil and gas by last month.

Word of progress in the agreement comes ahead of Chechnya's scheduled presidential and parliamentary elections next Monday.