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Russia: Yeltsin Plans To Visit Chechnya

Moscow, 25 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Security Council Secretary says President Boris Yeltsin intends to visit Russia's breakaway republic of Chechnya, but the date of the trip has not been set.

Interfax quoted Ivan Rybkin today as saying that Yeltsin and Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov could meet during the visit. A Kremlin spokesman said it is premature to talk about any exact date for the visit. Interfax quoted a senior security aide as saying Yeltsin expressed his intention to go to the region earlier today at a meeting of his Security Council.

Under a peace deal signed in August 1996 to end a war in which tens of thousands of people died, Chechnya agreed to postpone any decision on its future political status by five years but is still demanding full independence. Moscow rules this out.

Last May, Russia and Chechnya signed a provisional treaty which set out the basic principles of their relations until a final decision is made on Chechnya's future.