BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 15:09 GMT
Freed Chechen leader urges peace talks
Akhmed Zakayev at the Copenhagen conference
Russia says Zakayev is linked to the Moscow raid
Senior Chechen envoy Akhmed Zakayev has renewed an offer to negotiate with Moscow to end the war in the breakaway Russian republic.

Speaking in Denmark a day after his release by the authorities there, Mr Zakayev said Chechen leaders were ready to hold talks with Russia "without conditions".

He was released on Tuesday after the Danish Government rejected a request from Moscow to extradite him on terrorism charges.

Hostages
About 800 people were taken hostage in October
Mr Zakayev, an envoy for rebel Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov, was arrested at Russia's behest on 30 October, after addressing a Chechen conference in Copenhagen.

"The Chechen leadership is ready once more to begin negotiations without conditions with Russia, to end the war in Chechnya as quickly as possible," he said on Wednesday.

Mr Zakayev was freed after the Danish Justice Ministry said it had not received enough evidence from Moscow to justify his extradition.

Moscow says Mr Zakayev is linked to attacks on Russian civilians, including a recent hostage-taking raid in a Moscow theatre.

Russian officials denounced Denmark's decision as politically motivated.

Tough talk

The Russians say the attack on the Moscow theatre was orchestrated by Mr Maskhadov himself.

Mr Maskhadov - who was elected president of Chechnya in 1997 - has denied any involvement and denounced the attack.

During the Copenhagen conference in October, Mr Maskhadov - through Mr Zakayev - said he was ready for unconditional negotiations with Russia.

Last year, Mr Zakayev held talks with Moscow officials - but the negotiations were broken off.

Few in Russia are willing to make concessions to Chechen separatists.

Russia President Vladimir Putin was elected on a promise to "get tough" with the Chechens and correspondents say he is unlikely to change course now.


Siege reports

Key stories

Chechen conflict

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

03 Dec 02 | Europe
03 Dec 02 | Europe
30 Oct 02 | Europe
24 Oct 02 | Europe
31 Oct 02 | Europe
30 Oct 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes