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Chechnya: Council Of Europe Appeals For Ceasefire

Grozny, 5 November 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russia has allowed thousands of refugees to cross the main frontier between Chechnya and Ingushetia amid increasing international concern over civilians caught in Moscow's offensive against Islamic rebels. The key border crossing had been closed for 11 days. In Strasbourg, the Council of Europe is appealing to Russia to call a ceasefire. And the OSCE says it will send a delegation to Chechnya next week to study the situation and explore ways to help the refugees. Meanwhile, Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev -- in an interview with Qatari television -- says a holy war is the only option left in Chechnya. He criticized the "silence of Muslim states" about the Russian offensive.