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Russia: Moscow Protests U.S.-Chechen Meeting

Moscow, 24 January 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russia says the United States has made an "unfriendly step" when an official in the U.S. State Department received a Chechen separatist representative. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it had been surprised by the meeting in Washington between an unidentified U.S. official and Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in Chechnya's separatist leadership.

The ministry said that such steps "contradict the spirit of cooperation and partnership" between Russia and the United States in their fight against terrorism.

Earlier this week, Russia protested against a London meeting between an official in the British Foreign Office and a representative of separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov.