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DATE=10/7/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (S) NUMBER=2-254755 BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russia has rejected suggestions of European Union (E-U) mediation in the conflict in breakaway Chechnya, calling it an internal affair. Correspondent Peter Heinlein has details from Moscow. TEXT: Russia's deputy foreign minister Yevgeny Gusarov ruled out E-U help in settling the Chechen conflict. He says mediation between the federal government and a member of the Federation would be a strange thing. The comment came during a visit by a high-level E-U delegation led by Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten. Another member of the delegation, Finland's Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen, earlier said the European Union recognizes Russian sovereignty in Chechnya, but is concerned about the excessive use of force. Weeks of Russian bombing have forced a mass exodus of Chechen civilians. At least 130-thousand refugees are camped in neighboring Ingushetia, many living under open skies. Officials there are calling for international assistance to avoid a humanitarian disaster, but federal officials say Russia will take care of the refugees. (SIGNED) NEB/PFH/GE/RAE 07-Oct-1999 07:12 AM EDT (07-Oct-1999 1112 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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