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Russia: Chechen President Positive About Economic Relationship

Grozny, 22 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov said today that a common economic space with Russia would be profitable both for Moscow and his breakaway Caucasus republic.

Maskhadov, who considers Chechnya to be de facto independent, pointed out the joint use of oil and transport routes across Chechnya as examples of mutually advantageous ventures.

Maskhadov also told Interfax news agency that he saw great prospects in military cooperation between Moscow and Grozny. He said that if Moscow recognized Chechnya's independence, Grozny could pledge not to join military alliances hostile to Russia, renounce the deployment of foreign troops on its territory and agree to the joint patrolling of the external borders and free travel between the two countries.

Maskhadov and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a peace accord earlier this year but the issue of Chechnya's status was left unresolved.