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Russia: Moscow Says OSCE Should Re-orient Activity In Chechnya

Moscow, April 4, 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Foreign Ministry says the Chechnya mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should re-orient its activity.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement today saying OSCE mediation in peace talks with Chechnya is n-o longer needed. The statement says that ever since the January presidential election in Chechnya, Russian authorities and the new Chechen separatist leadership have been holding direct talks.

The Russian statement praises the OSCE peace mediation activity conducted under the leadership of Swiss diplomat Tim Guldimann.

The statement says the OSCE mission in Chechnya should now redirect its activity toward the monitoring of the human rights situation, the return of refugees and the coordination of humanitarian assistance.

Guldimann resigned last week after 15 months as head of the OSCE mission in Grozny. A Danish diplomat (Rudolf Torning-Petersen) is due to replace him. Denmark at present holds the rotating OSCE presidency.