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DATE=11/17/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=O-S-C-E SUMMIT (L OVERNIGHTER) NUMBER=2-256280 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=ISTANBUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Heads of state of the 54-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe --the O-S-C-E - - have gathered in Istanbul, Turkey for a two-day summit to discuss security issues of mutual concern. But as V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from Istanbul, the conflict in Chechnya is already casting a shadow over the meeting, with the likelihood of some stern warnings to Russia from its O-S-C-E colleagues. TEXT: The official agenda of the two-day meeting focuses mostly on security issues such as updating the conventional weapons treaty and expanding the O-S-C- E's role in peacekeeping operations like Bosnia and Kosovo. But Russia's military offensive in Chechnya will cloud the discussions. Most of the leaders attending the Istanbul summit have publicly or privately criticized Moscow's operation. Russian President Boris Yeltsin will use the summit meeting to defend his tough line on Chechnya. O-S-C-E officials insist the summit should demand a timetable from Russia on the withdrawal of troops from Chechnya. The increased number of Russian military in the area counters the Conventional Weapons Treaty ceiling for troops and equipment along Russia's southern flank. The treaty is to be updated at the Istanbul meeting. Outside of the official agenda, the O-S-C-E's current chairman Knut Vollebaek of Norway will meet Montenegro's leader and a delegation of Serb politicians opposed to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Mr. Vollebaek is also hosting a breakfast meeting of more than 40 foreign ministers from the so-called Stability Pact countries, dealing with reforms in southeastern Europe. Last July, the group pledged to help break down trade barriers and rebuild investor confidence in the region. But few projects have actually materialized. Wednesday evening, Mr. Vollebaek also met with the five leaders of Central Asia who are attending the summit. The high-level gathering has raised Turkey's profile as a European partner at a time when Ankara has sought a way into the European Union. But the meeting comes at an awkward time for Turkey, which is digging out from the rubble of its second devastating earthquake since August. (Signed) NEB/LMK/JWH/gm 17-Nov-1999 14:07 PM EDT (17-Nov-1999 1907 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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