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Chechnya: Red Cross To Stay

Moscow, 9 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The International Red Cross says it will continue its operations in Chechnya, despite the recent abduction and eventual release of an American aid worker. A Red Cross spokesman said all its foreign workers had been pulled out of the breakaway republic following the murder of several Red Cross staff. But Eric Reumann said local employees are still working for the Red Cross in Chechnya.

Meanwhile, the UN's refugee agency, the UNHCR, announced yesterday it will resume humanitarian aid convoys to Chechnya within the next few days. The UNHCR and other international organizations halted their operations in Chechnya following the abduction of Kenny Gluck in January. The American -- who worked for Doctors Without Borders -- was released by still unidentified kidnappers, on 5 February, after nearly a month in captivity.

Separately, Russia's security service, the FSB, says it has proof Chechen rebels are planning a series of attacks on Russian troops.

FSB spokesman Alexander Zdanovich told state-run television last night that the FSB believes Chechen rebels are planning what he called "provocative" attacks on Russian forces on 23 February, a holiday for the Russian army. He said information of the plan had been gathered by the Russian Defense and Interior ministries.

Zdanovich also confirmed the detention in Chechnya of a Jordanian citizen suspected of being a foreign mercenary for the Chechen rebels.