Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, November 19, 1999 Published at 17:55 GMT


World: Europe

Chechnya overshadows security accords

Western leaders and Russia have reached an agreement on Chechnya

Russian and Western leaders have signed two key accords at a European security summit in Istanbul - but the impact on Moscow's war in the breakaway republic of Chechnya is likely to be negligible.

Battle for the Caucasus
Russian officials said there would be no withdrawal of forces from Chechnya and ruled out a mediation role for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe - an apparent concession by Moscow on Thursday.

"The task remains unchanged - to destroy the militants," said Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo.


The BBC's Bridget Kendall: "Relief rather than jubilation"
"We don't need any mediation," Mr Rushailo told reporters in Moscow, when asked about a possible OSCE role.

The two accords signed on Friday - after a day's delay caused by disputes with Russia over Chechnya - were:

  • a Charter for European Security, which establishes the principle that conflicts in one state are the legitimate concern of all
  • An updated version of the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, which sets lower ceilings for key armaments and troops stationed in militarily sensitive border regions.


OSCE Chairman Knut Vollebaek talks to BBC World Service Newshour
A declaration on Chechnya adopted at the end of a summit of the OSCE summit stated: "We agree that a political solution is essential and that the assistance of the OSCE would contribute to achieving that goal...We welcome the agreement of the Russian Federation to a visit by the (OSCE) Chairman in Office to the region."

The head of the United Nations refugee agency, Sadako Ogata, said in Moscow on Friday, after visiting refugee camps on the Chechen border, that the situation there was not castastrophic.

However, she told the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, of her serious concern about the number of civilian casualties.

No timetable for negotiations


The BBC's Chris Morris: "Russia is already violating the agreement"
But no timetable has been agreed for any political talks and Moscow continued to describe the government of the breakaway republic as bandits and terrorists.

Even as the negotiations were taking place Russian troops were continuing to pound the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Interfax news agency said Russian warplanes had carried out about 60 air strikes during the past 24 hours.

Click here to see a map of the region


[ image:  ]
Correspondents point out that the promised invitation to the Norwegian chairman of the OSCE, Knut Vollebaek, to visit the region does not guarantee he will be allowed to enter Chechnya itself - a constant demand of the west.

The BBC's Rob Watson, reporting from the summit, said although the gap between Russia and the West over Chechnya remained wide, there was no sign of a breakdown in relations.

In a separate development, Moscow also granted the United Nations refugee agency access to refugees who have fled the fighting.

Chechen town surrenders

Russian troops have continued their push into the breakaway republic of Chechnya, taking another key town without a shot being fired.

Achkhoi-Martan, near the border with Ingushetia, was the second major Chechen town to surrender.

Last week, federal forces entered Chechnya's second city, Gudermes, without opposition.

Local officials were told they would be spared bombing and shelling if they ensured no guerrillas were hiding in the town.

Residents gave up a varied array of weaponry including machine guns and grenade launchers.

Russian troops had surrounded Achkhoi-Martan for days as they pressed towards the Chechen heartland that lies south of the capital, Grozny.

Meanwhile, French news agency AFP reported that some 170 people died in Russian missile strikes on Thursday.

Chechen officials told AFP that 70 died in air strikes on Grozny and another 100 died when five rockets struck Urus-Martan, 20km (12 miles) from the rebel capital.

The death toll could not be independently verified.



[ image:  ]

Click here to return



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

19 Nov 99 | Europe
UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

19 Nov 99 | Monitoring
Russia's media war over Chechnya

19 Nov 99 | Europe
Analysis: East-West relations must shift

19 Nov 99 | Monitoring
Russian press split over 'haughty' West

19 Nov 99 | Europe
New arms control treaty for Europe

19 Nov 99 | Europe
Chechen town falls without a fight

18 Nov 99 | Europe
Yeltsin walks out on world leaders

18 Nov 99 | Europe
UN envoy inspects Chechen camps





Internet Links


OSCE Istanbul Summit


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




In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift