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Chechnya: Envoy Calls For Peace Talks Before Referendum

Moscow, 13 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A newly appointed Chechen separatist envoy today said a planned referendum on a constitution for the republic would be unacceptable before a peace agreement is reached. Salambek Maigov, appointed as the Moscow envoy by separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov, said the referendum planned for 23 March is not an element of stabilization but should instead come at the end of a political process. He added that the results of the referendum will "undoubtedly be falsified."

Maigov called on Moscow to agree to negotiations with Chechen separatists to forge a peace agreement.

Moscow officials have refused to hold talks with Maskhadov or his representatives, and some blame the separatist leader for the hostage taking at a Moscow theater last October.