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Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Ingushetia says refugees can stay

The United Nations' refugee agency, the UNHCR, says the authorities in the Russian region of Ingushetia have given assurances that they will not force any refugees to return home to Chechnya.

The comments were made during a meeting between a UNHCR senior official visiting the area and the Ingush authorities.

The authorities in Ingushetia also said they were planning to improve conditions for refugees spending another winter in Ingushetia.

The UNHCR said it was working with local government officials to determine how many of the refugees would require assistance through the winter.

Ingushetia is home to about 100,000 Chechen refugees, and there have been reports of some being forced to return home.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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