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Interfax, March 12, 2003

Yabloko Party opposes an unprepared referendum in Chechnya

MOSCOW. March 12 (Interfax) - Yabloko Party leader Grigory Yavlinsky believes that the Chechen referendum has not been fully prepared and that a peace conference with all the warring parties should be held instead.

The problem surrounding Chechnya can only be resolved if all interested sides participate in a large-scae political process, Yavlinsky said in a statement.

" The referendum on the Constitution of the republic and elections to the republican and local authorities can become a part of this process: however, special preliminary conditions, which are lacking at present, should be created achieve this goal.," the statement reads.

It is impossible to organize a thorough debate of the draft Constitution in a short period of time, the statement reads.

"Large-scale campaigns during a war could provoke new acts of terror," he said. Yavlinsky warned of the long-term impact that the unprepared referendum could have. It could aggravate the standoff in Chechnya and help forces that encourage civil war, the statement reads.

"Moreover, it was a mistake to exclude international agencies from the Chechen settlement and to disband the Duma-PACE commission," the statement reads.

"By refusing to discuss the conditions, dates and observers for the referendum, PACE is reneging on its responsibility for the Russian authorities' actions and has created conditions for serious aggravation of the situation in future," the statement reads.

However, "further steps must be taken towards a political settlement in Chechnya," the statement reads.

Yavlinsky emphasized the importance of "providing a legal framework for the situation" of terminating mop-up operations and other forms of violence. The federal authorities should promote talks among all conflicting sides in Chechnya and use international assistance to deter violence.

"These steps would lead to a peace conference among the warring and interested sides which the Russian President would chair. It should only exclude odious figures and war criminals whose guilt has been proven," the statement reads.


See also:

War in Chechnya

The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO.Statement.
On regulation of the crisis in Chechnya. March 11, 2003

Interfax, March 12, 2003

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