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Russia: Prime Minister Welcomes Results Of Chechen Elections

Moscow, 30 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin says he is satisfied with the results of the Chechen elections.

Chernomyrdin, speaking today at a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, said there were good chances of continuing a dialogue with Chechnya's likely president, Aslan Maskhadov.

Asked whether he would attend Maskhadov's inauguration scheduled for February 10, Chernomyrdin said: "I think that we will have many chances to meet."

Chernomyrdin is in Switzerland ahead of the World Economic Forum, scheduled to start in Davos on Saturday.

Maskhadov won a decisive majority of the vote according to unofficial results of Monday's election. Final figures are expected on Sunday.

Meanwhile, in Grozny, former presidential candidate Shamil Basayev told reporters that Chechnya's elections were not and could not be honest. However, he said he would not contest the results of the poll.

In Moscow, Gennady Seleznev, chairman of the State Duma, Russia's lower house of Parliament, today advocated the early resumption of talks between Moscow and Chechnya. He said the dialogue should restart immediately after the North Caucasus republic formed a new Parliament and Government on the basis of Monday's Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Seleznev told reporters the negotiations should focus on Chechnya's legal relationship with the Russian legislature -- under the Russian constitution the Chechen President and Parliamentary Chairman are automatically members of the Federation Council, Russia's upper house -- and on ways to rebuild Chechnya's war-ruined economy.

The Duma Chairman said Moscow was taking a "constructive" stand and making no conditions except that the talks must be based on the August 1996 accords between Russia and the Chechen separatists which ended the 21-month war. The documents bear the signature of Chechen's next likely President, Aslan Maskhadov, Seleznev pointed out.