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Russia: Chechen Separatists Renew Call for OSCE-Supervised Talks

Moscow, 14 July 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Chechnya's separatist President Aslan Maskhadov has made a fresh call for peace talks with Russia. Azerbaijan's news service quotes Maskhadov, speaking by telephone yesterday from an undisclosed location in Chechnya's southern mountains, as saying Russia's war with Chechen rebel fighters could continue endlessly.

He says he is ready to join negotiations supervised by the OSCE -- the Organization For Security And Cooperation In Europe. Russia has rejected negotiations with the rebels, demanding instead that they surrender.

Earlier this month, the OSCE's troika of current, past and future chairmen of the OSCE -- Austria, Norway and Romania -- reiterated the OSCE's concern about the situation in Chechnya and called on Russia to seek a political solution.

Yesterday, Moscow police mounted extra security checks over government concern that Chechen rebels may extend their tactic of suicide bombings to Moscow. The police stationed officers along most of Moscow's central streets, stopped trucks and other vehicles and pedestrians and searched for explosives.

In an interview with the Izvestia newspaper, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Russians and Chechens for patience, saying large-scale social rehabilitation and political processes will need to accompany military efforts to end the war.