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DATE=11/17/1999 TYPE=EDITORIAL TITLE=EDITORIAL: RUSSIA'S POLICY IN CHECHNYA NUMBER=0-08534 CONTENT= THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 11/17/99. Anncr: The Voice of America presents differing points of view on a wide variety of issues. Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: Russian artillery and aircraft continue to strike across Chechnya, causing numerous casualties and driving tens of thousands of families from their homes. As many as two-hundred thousand persons have been displaced, most pouring into neighboring Ingushetia. Some were kept from fleeing the fighting when Russian authorities closed the Chechnya-Ingushetia border. Russian air and artillery strikes have caused widespread civilian deaths in Chechnya. Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation and Russia has a responsibility to maintain law and order within its territory. But the Russian army has used indiscriminate force. It has attacked civilians and bombed homes and marketplaces. When the fighting began some six weeks ago, Russia said its objectives were limited to subduing bandits hiding in Chechnya's mountains. The Russian army, however, is doing more than this. The United States shares Russia's stated goal of security and stability in the north Caucasus. But pursuing a military solution in Chechnya is counterproductive. Russia needs to avoid civilian casualties and permit a free flow of displaced persons. Russia needs to work with leaders of other states in the region to prevent the spread of instability. And Russia needs to commit itself to a political process and begin a dialogue with local leaders. The United States calls on Russia to follow through on its stated intention to seek a political solution. The U.S. will continue to press the Russian government to change its policy on Chechnya and respect the rights of all citizens of the Russian Federation. Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-voa-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. 16-Nov-1999 14:50 PM EDT (16-Nov-1999 1950 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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