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Chechnya Peace Talks Get Under Way

Published: November 20, 2001 (Issue # 723)



  • Akhmed Zakayev.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW - An envoy of Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov made a lightning visit to Moscow on Sunday for the first face-to-face settlement talks with a Kremlin representative since war started in Chechnya two years ago.

The meeting between Akhmed Zakayev and Viktor Kazantsev, the presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District, took place at Sheremetyevo Airport.

Kazantsev said after the two-hour meeting that the talks "went exclusively along the lines of the recent statement by President Putin concerning Chechnya," Itar-Tass reported. Kazantsev's adviser Mazim Fedorenko said that the two discussed ways for the guerrillas to lay down their weapons and begin a peaceful life.

"The parties aired their intention to seek a lasting peace in Chechnya," he was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Kazantsev and Zakayev had spoken by telephone several times since Putin in late September offered rebels the chance to start talks on laying down arms, but it was the first time the two met in person. After repeatedly rejecting calls by the rebels and Western countries for negotiations with Chechnya, Putin on Sept. 24 addressed the rebels in a speech outlining Russia's response to the terrorist attacks in the United States, and said the separatists should contact Russian authorities to arrange a first meeting. Putin's peace proposal was the first during the war that started in 1999. He and other officials had previously ruled out any talks with rebels and said they should be eliminated.

Kazantsev flew to Moscow from his Rostov-na-Dony headquarters in southern Russia on Sunday while Zakayev flew in from Turkey, Itar-Tass reported. Zakayev returned home afterward.

"We were very happy with the meetings. We believe the talks will continue and end positively," he said. "The most important goal of these talks was to stop the war in Chechnya."

Russia refused to allow mediators at talks with the rebels, who continue guerrilla resistance after having been driven from much of the northern Caucasus region by Russian forces. But Zakayev was accompanied by a Turkish politician and said in a statement before the talks that the Chechen side was acting with the "active cooperation" of Ankara.

"The meetings were very positive," the politician, Besim Tibuk, head of the small Liberal Democratic Party, told the same news conference. " The Turkish government was informed, but we didn't go there on behalf of the Turkish government. We went independently."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 1


The St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum 2014 kicks off today at Lenexpo, where it will be presenting the latest and greatest ideas until Oct. 3. Focusing on economic development and the decisions and measures necessary to encourage development in Russias most important industries, the event is a possibility to discuss the innovations currently available in a variety of fields.


Representatives of the Russian and international media industries arrive in St. Petersburg for the first ever International Media Forum being hosted by the city until Oct. 10. With a variety of events on tap, including workshops, lectures and film screenings, the event plans to reemphasize the citys reputation as the countrys culture capital and as an emerging market and location for the visual arts.



Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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