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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 13, 2000

13 April 2000
Shaimiev Did Not Meet Udugov
Irek Murtazin, the press secretary of Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, said at a news conference on 12 April that the president denies a report that he met with Chechen official Movladi Udugov. The daily "Nezavisimaya gazeta" published an article on 12 April titled "Did Shaimiev And Udugov Meet?" It referred to a reliable source that said Shaimiev met with Udugov during a vacation in the United Arab Emirates to discuss a political settlement of the conflict in Chechnya. Murtazin said that Shaimiev told him that the report was false. Murtazin said that even the opportunity of such meeting is not real, as after the invasion by rebel commanders Basaev and Khattab in Daghestan Shaimiev stated that those two and Udugov had made themselves outlaws and that any talks with them are impossible.

The state adviser to Shaimiev, Rafail Khakimov, said at the news conference that high-ranking Russian officials had indeed appealed to Shaimiev meet with the Chechens. But he said Shaimiev refused to contact any Chechen representatives if President-elect Vladimir Putin doesn't approve such action. Khakimov added that a treaty between Tatatstan and Chechnya exists--as nobody had cancelled it--but he said that Kazan has no relations with Chechnya, and none are expected.

Morozov Backs Start-2 Ratification
A State Duma deputy representing Tatarstan and the leader of the parliamentary group Rossiiskiye regiony (Russian Regions) said that the agreement on reducing strategic and offensive missiles, Start-2, is more favorable for Russia rather than for the United States, Tatar Television reported on 12 April. Mr. Morozov said that if ratification of the proposal will further postpone a buildup of nuclear arms it is good and will prevent a gap from developing between Russia and the U.S.

Tatarstan Opens Mission In Vietnam
Tatarstan has opened a trade and economic office in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, Tatar-inform reported on 12 April. It is Tatarstan's 17th mission abroad, in the CIS states, and in Russian territorial entities. The press service of the Trade and Economic Cooperation Ministry reported that trade turnover between the two sides dropped sevenfold last year to about $2.5 million over nine months of the year. Tatarstan exports ethylene, trucks, spare parts, and equipment to Vietnam. Orientalist Renat Ibrahimov, who worked before in the international cooperation agency of the Cabinet of Ministers, was named to head the representation.

Commissioners Discuss Call-Up
Results of the call-up for military service in the last year were analyzed at a meeting of the Volga military okrug executives in Kazan on 12 April, Tatar media reported. Commissioners and heads of call-up commissions from Tatarstan, Udmurtia, Mordovia, Chuvashia, Bashkortostan, and the Marii El republics, and Ulyanovsk, Penza, Orenburg, Perm, Kirov, Caratov, and Samara oblasts attended the meeting held by the okrug's chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Chilindin. The bad state of the draftees' health and a growth in the number of crimes made recruits were cited as biggest problems.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova