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Lithuania Rejects Russian Request To Close Chechen Center

Vilnius, 5 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russia today urged Lithuania to shut down a Chechen cultural center in Vilnius, but the foreign minister turned down the request. A Lithuanian Foreign Ministry statement said that during a meeting with Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis, Russian Ambassador Yurii Zubakov asked Vilnius to abolish the activities of the Chechen information and cultural center in Vilnius.

Valionis replied that the center is a public institution, established in accordance with Lithuanian legislation and headed by a Lithuanian citizen. He also said that the center was mostly doing humanitarian work.

Opened in December 1999, the Chechen information and cultural center is headed by a former member of parliament, Algirdas Endriukaitis.