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DATE=11/17/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L) NUMBER=2-256275 BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russia, bowing to international pressure, has agreed to allow a top United Nations official to visit the northern Caucasus, including parts of breakaway Chechnya. But at the same time, a senior Russian general has issued a stern warning to the West to stay out of Russia's internal affairs. V-O-A Correspondent Peter Heinlein reports from Moscow. TEXT: U-N High Commissioner for refugees Sadako Ogata arrived in Moscow Wednesday saying she came to convey Secretary General Kofi Annan's concerns, both about battling terrorism and caring for civilians. After meeting with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Ms. Ogata said she had received permission for a trip to the Northern Caucasus. She will inspect the condition of camps in Ingushetia, where many of the 210-thousand refugees from Chechnya are sheltering. She also said she expects to visit parts of the breakaway region recently returned to Russian control. /// OGATA ACT /// We will be travelling in the field tomorrow (Thursday), hopefully to Ingushetia and to Chechnya itself, in order to get a more exact understanding of the developments there. /// END ACT /// Standing alongside Ms. Ogata, Foreign Minister Ivanov said Moscow attaches great importance to the High Commissioner's visit. He told reporters "We have nothing to hide." In another development, Air Force Chief of Staff Anatoly Kornukov angrily reminded the west Wednesday Russia is a nuclear armed country, and would not tolerate outside interference in its campaign to restore control over Chechnya. /// KORNUKOV ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER /// He says, "Russia is not Iraq. It is not Yugoslavia. And any attempt to interfere will be resolutely blocked". General Kornukov's warning came on the eve of the European security summit, where Chechnya is dominating discussions. But in what may be a concession to world opinion, reports from the western sector of the war zone indicate there may be a letup in the fierce Russian military offensive. Journalists along the border report the heavy artillery and rocket fire that could be heard in the distance for the past several weeks has fallen silent. The French news agency, however, suggests another possible reason for the quiet. The agency quoted Russian military officials as saying they have captured the Chechen stronghold of Bamut along the western border. Bamut had symbolized Chechnya's battle for independence during the earlier war in the region, from 1994 to 1996. (Signed) NEB/PFH/JWH/LTD/gm 17-Nov-1999 13:20 PM EDT (17-Nov-1999 1820 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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