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USIS Washington File

03 December 1999

Text: U.S. Statement on Chechnya to OSCE Permanent Council

(Amb. Johnson: OSCE mission should go to North Caucasus "immediately")
(400)
Ambassador David T. Johnson, head of the U.S. Mission to the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), has called
on Russia to "pursue steps toward a political solution today" in
Chechnya.
Johnson made the statement December 2 to the OSCE's Permanent Council
in Vienna.
"The Russian Federation agreed at Istanbul to permit an OSCE mission
to the North Caucasus," Johnson said. "We expect Russia -- like all of
us -- to live up to all agreements reached during the Istanbul
Summit."
Johnson said the United States believes a trip to the North Caucasus
by OSCE Chairman-in-Office Knut Vollebaek "should take place
immediately."
Following is the text of his statement:
(begin text)
U.S. MISSION TO THE OSCE
December 2, 1999
STATEMENT ON CHECHNYA 
DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR DAVID T. JOHNSON TO THE PERMANENT COUNCIL,
VIENNA
Mr. Chairman, we appreciate Chairman-in-Office Vollebaek's efforts to
undertake a mission to the North Caucasus, in furtherance of the
Istanbul Summit Declaration. We welcomed his trip to Moscow earlier
this week. But we regret, however, that no date has been set for his
travel to the North Caucasus. We believe this trip should take place
immediately.
We urge Russia to pursue steps toward a political solution today,
steps that would include a meaningful role for the OSCE.
Like you, Mr. Chairman, we believe the language of the Istanbul
Declaration is clear on this issue. Our Heads of State and Government
agreed that "a political solution is essential, and the assistance of
the OSCE would contribute to achieving that goal."
The Russian Federation agreed at Istanbul to permit an OSCE mission to
the North Caucasus. We expect Russia -- like all of us -- to live up
to all agreements reached during the Istanbul Summit.
We also believe that the OSCE has an important role to play in
post-conflict rehabilitation. We urge that this role be defined as an
integral part of today's search for a political solution.
In addition, we want to offer our strong support to the EU's call in
last week's Permanent Council for the Assistance Group to open a
branch office in Ingushetiya immediately.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State)



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