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DATE=10/6/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L) NUMBER=2-254763 BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russia has rejected outside mediation in the conflict in breakaway Chechnya, calling the situation an internal affair. But as Correspondent Peter Heinlein reports from the Russian capital, a European Union delegation visiting Moscow has called for Russia to explain its military adventure in the breakaway republic. TEXT: E-U Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten arrived (Thursday) in Moscow, saying he wants an explanation from Russian officials about what is going on in Chechnya. Mr. Patten headed a trio of senior E- U officials in meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. Mr. Patten told an interviewer there is growing concern in free societies about the information coming out of the northern Caucasus, where Russian troops are pouring into Chechnya under cover of air strikes, and civilians are fleeing by the thousands. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Gusarov earlier rejected suggestions that the E-U might mediate an end to the Chechnya crisis. He said -- negotiations between the federal government and a member of the federation would be a strange thing. But Mr. Patten said that eventually, a negotiated solution would have to be found. /// PATTEN ACT /// I think everybody recognizes that sooner or later, if there is to be security and stability in the northern Caucasus, people are going to have to sit down around a table and talk things out. /// END ACT /// With pictures and news accounts about civilian casualties in Chechnya and the squalid conditions in refugee camps in neighboring Ingushetia beginning to reach the outside world, Russia has announced plans to change its policy toward the news media. Recently appointed Media Minister Mikhail Lesin says the changes are designed to stifle what he called -- aggression among reporters. At the dedication of a new Chechnya media information center, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the government's aim is to make sure reporting is accurate. /// PUTIN ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER /// He says -- if the truth does not come out quickly, the gap is filled with propaganda that is distorted or false. He said the aim of the Chechen media center is to ensure he citizens' right to the truth. The center will be run by Russia's foreign ministry. The difficulty of determining the truth in a war zone was demonstrated in Chechnya, where local officials claimed a Russian rocket hit a busload of refugees, killing as many as 40-people. Chechen television showed pictures of rescue workers removing bodies from the charred wreckage. A Chechen journalist working for the Associated Press reported visiting a morgue in the capital, Grozny that was filled with the bodies of victims of the attack. But Russian officials called the reports -- disinformation. Prime Minister Putin told reporters in Moscow that if there had been such an incident, refugees would not still be fleeing to Russia. And Russian media made no mention of the attack. (SIGNED) NEB/PFH/JWH/RAE 07-Oct-1999 11:52 AM EDT (07-Oct-1999 1552 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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