Saturday, September 18, 2004

Zakayev on Basayev

"Akhmed Zakayev comments on Shamil Basayev's statement"

The Chechenpress news agency has asked [Chechnya's rebel deputy premier] Akhmed Zakayev to comment on [field commander] Shamil Basayev's statement in which he claims responsibility for the terrorist act in Beslan. This is what Akhmed Zakayev said:

«Могу лишь вкратце повторить то, что сегодня завил по этому поводу представителям ведущих мировых информагентств.

Как известно, Путин неоднократно и в категорической форме утверждал, что он не будет вести переговоров с демократически избранным президентом ЧРИ Асланом Масхадовым. Но сегодня, после трагедии в Беслане, мы все стали свидетелями того, что Путин за спиной Масхадова вел переговоры с Шамилем Басаевым, не имеющим никакого отношения к легитимному чеченскому руководству. Факт этих переговоров подтверждают многие российские СМИ, депутаты Госдумы РФ и такой высокопоставленный кремлевский функционер как помощник президента РФ Асланбек Аслаханов. И мы также все стали свидетелями того, как очередной раунд переговоров между Путиным и Шамилем Басаевым закончился массовым убийством детей.

В связи с этим хотелось бы предупредить как российскую общественность, так и международное сообщество, что ни сейчас, ни впредь подобные закулисные переговоры Путина и Басаева абсолютно нелегитимны и их результаты для чеченского руководства не будут иметь никакого правового значения.»

"I can only briefly repeat what I told representatives of leading news agencies of the world today. "As is known, Putin has repeatedly and categorically claimed that he will not conduct any negotiations with the democratically-elected president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Aslan Maskhadov. But after the tragedy in Beslan, we all witnessed that Putin had been conducting negotiations behind Maskhadov's back with Shamil Basayev who has nothing to do with the legitimate Chechen leadership. The fact of these negotiations is confirmed by many Russian media, deputies of the Russian State Duma and by such a high-ranking Kremlin functionary as the aide to the Russian president, Aslanbek Aslakhanov. Also, we all witnessed that another round of the negotiations between Putin and Shamil Basayev ended in the mass carnage of children.

"In this connection, I would like to warn both the Russian public and the international community that such negotiations behind the scenes between Putin and Basayev are absolutely illegitimate and their results will be of no legal importance to the Chechen leadership.

"In turn, the Chechen leadership has repeatedly stated that the Russian-Chechen conflict has no military solution. We decisively condemn any forms of violence in solving political problems and are sure that the methods employed by Vladimir Putin and Shamil Basayev for achieving political aims are unacceptable. These methods will not yield the necessary results, but will only increase the number of pointless casualties. They will further the expansion of the war and deepen the abyss of alienation between the peoples of Chechnya and Russia. We are sure that we will not be able to achieve a lasting peace without intervention by the international community.

"It is worth emphasizing that Shamil Basayev, unlike Vladimir Putin, constantly appeals to international law. Shamil Basayev has repeatedly suggested that Putin observe the rules of war envisaged in Geneva conventions, and with the consent of the leader of the Russian Federation, he is ready to make a commitment to end any terrorist activities. Moreover, Shamil Basayev has repeatedly appealed to the leaders of the countries included in the antiterrorist coalition, calling on them to foil the terrorist activities in Chechnya of their ally Putin. However, neither the leadership of the coalition, nor Putin himself reacted to these calls by Shamil Basayev, which resulted in the Beslan tragedy.

"As for the president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Aslan Maskhadov, he has already made a number of statements in which he decisively condemned the terrorist act in Beslan and described as unacceptable and amoral all similar attempts to stop Putin's genocide in Chechnya. However, there are no doubts that as long as Putins define Russia's policy in the Caucasus, Basayevs will not disappear in Chechnya."

[Signed] Chechenpress Department of Government Information, 18 September 2004

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