19 June 2006
Some media reports suggested today that a certain group in Iraq demands withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya, as a condition for freeing Russian diplomats taken as hostages. This results from a rough provocation of Russian special services. This provocation is intended to convince Western leaders, in view of the upcoming summit-meeting in St. Petersburg, that Russia and the West are “on the same side”.
The CHRI Foreign Ministry absolutely denies that Chechens are involved in the activities of the international terrorist network. We condemn terrorism in all its forms, including that of hostage-taking. The Foreign Ministry also demands, from those who keep Russian diplomats as hostages, to free these diplomats with no preliminary conditions.
This is not the first time when Russia tries to connect the Chechen nation’s struggle for independence with the activities of international terrorist network. For example, some Western leaders, deceived by Russian agents of influence, used to say that Chechens “bitterly fought” coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
No matter what happens to the disappeared Russian diplomats now, Russian president will tell his colleagues that was “another attack” against Russia by Al-Qaeda.
Against the background of protests caused by assassination of CHRI President, today’s media reports look too “timely”. They are intended to soften the international condemnation of this political crime by the Kremlin.
Besides, many in the West began to ask serious questions about Russia’s true role in the “struggle against international terrorism” now. This made the Russian special services to resort to such a provocation on the eve of St. Petersburg summit-meeting.
The hostage-takers’ declared demands look extremely naïve. The Russian authorities’ disregard for lives of hostages has become notorious. In Dubrovka theatre in Moscow, and in the Beslan school, they cruelly killed hundreds of hostages.
Today, after six and a half years of the Second Russian-Chechen war, one must be very biased in favour of Putin to believe Russian propaganda about Chechens’ alleged involvement in international terrorism.
Once again, the CHRI government responsibly states that it is the Chechen nation who fights against leaders of international terrorism – i. e. the present Russian rulers.
Ahmed Zakayev, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
ChRI Foreign Ministry Statement