TITLE=CLINTON - SHEVARDNADZE (L-ONLY)
INTRO: President Clinton has met with Georgian
President Eduard Shevardnadze at the White House.
Topping the agenda was Russia's crackdown on Islamic
rebels in the breakaway region of Chechenya, which
shares a border with Georgia. Correspondent Deborah
Tate reports from the White House.
Text: The U.S. and Georgian Presidents reviewed the
situation in the Caucasus as Russia intensified its
campaign against separatist rebels by bombing the
airport in the Chechen capital, Grosny.
Russian forces have been bombing what they say are
rebel bases inside Chechenya used to launch incursions
into the neighboring region of Dagestan. Moscow has
accused Chechen rebels of being behind a series of
bombings throughout Russia in recent weeks.
Russian officials are trying to seal off the border
with Chechenya - including Georgia's border with the
breakaway region. They are in talks with Georgian
officials on the matter.
Emerging from his White House meeting, Mr.
Shevardnadze - speaking through a translator - was
hesitant to comment on the situation.
/// SHEVARDNADZE ACTUALITY-Translator ///
We haven't made any decisions on these matters.
Let us give some time for situation to unfold,
and then we can make conclusions afterwards.
/// END ACT ///
Mr. Clinton - who is concerned the situation in
Chechenya could destabilize the region - discussed the
matter with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov a day
Besides Chechenya, Mr. Clinton and Mr. Shevardnadze
also discussed Georgia's progress toward democratic
and economic reform. The Georgian leader is to be
honored Thursday night for his commitment to reform by
the private National Democratic Institute in
Mr. Shevardnadze, a former Soviet Foreign Minister,
has had to deal with years of political upheaval since
becoming Georgian President in 1995. He has survived
two assassination attempts.
His native Georgia, a former Soviet republic, became
independent in 1991. (Signed)
23-Sep-1999 19:35 PM LOC (23-Sep-1999 2335 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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