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Monday, April 19, 1999 Published at 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK

World: Europe

Russian President willing to meet Chechen leader

President Boris Yeltsin has said that he is prepared to meet the Chechen leader, Aslan Mashkadov.

Mr Yeltsin was quoted as saying that Moscow had given Chechnya time to realise that a republic within Russia could not exist independently of Russia.

The breakaway republic fought a war of independence from Russia which ended in 1996.

A month ago, Mr Mashkadov also called for a personal meeting with Mr Yeltsin when tensions rose following the abduction of a Russian general in Chechnya.

There have several attempts on the life of the Chechen leader, who has been under pressure from some of his local commanders for being too friendly with Moscow.

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