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Russia: Chechen President To Visit State Department

Washington, 14 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. State Department says the president of the Russian breakaway region of Chechnya is pay an unofficial visit to the State Department in Washington today.

Spokesman James Rubin says Aslan Maskhadov is to have talks with the department's special envoy to the states of the former Soviet Union, Stephen Sestanovich. Rubin says the U.S. official plans to raise American concerns about the fate of two American relief workers who went missing in Chechnya during its conflict with Russian forces and who have never been accounted for. Rubin says the U.S. is also concerned about recent incidents of kidnapping in Chechnya.

The spokesman says Sestanovich also plans to discuss the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's mission in Grozny and to reiterate the U.S. view that the mission should receive the full support of Chechen authorities.

Rubin added that the U.S. respects the territorial integrity of Russia and he noted that Russia and Chechnya have agreed to talks on Chechnya's status and to resolve the issue within five years.

Maskhadov is on a private visit to the United States through Saturday.