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Russia: Defense Minister Says 'Excess' Troops To Leave Chechnya

Oslo, 17 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said today at a press conference in Oslo that the Russian military intends to pullout what Ivanov called "superfluous" troops from Chechnya. Ivanov, speaking after a meeting with Norwegian Defense Minister Kristin Krohn Devold, said a Russian military presence would remain in Chechnya but there will be a limited withdrawal of some units. Ivanov said special police and special forces units would probably stay.

In Chechnya, two pro-Russian Chechen policemen were killed in the southern Vedeno district when suspected separatists fired on their vehicle with a grenade launcher. Akhmad Dakaev, an Interior Ministry official in Chechnya, said four separatists were also killed.

In the Chechen capital Grozny, Chechen government Chairman Stanislav Ilyasov said a new constitution for the republic is nearly ready and should be adopted this December.