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CHECHEN PRESIDENT ON DOUBLE STANDARDS

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 23 (RIA Novosti) - Chechen President Alu Alkhanov calls on human right activists not to resort to the double standard approach in assessing the situation in Chechnya.

He made this statement at a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

"In the reports by human rights activists I can see no sympathy with terrorist groups' victims. These are dozens of thousands of innocent people. But so far as the arrest of Maskhadov's relatives is concerned (Maskhadov, the leader of Chechen terrorists, was killed on March 8), this fact is much talked about," the Chechen president pointed out.

He also stressed that three or four years are not enough to completely rectify the situation in the republic, which had been on the downward path for a decade. "We need another decade for that," he was quoted as saying.

The Chechen leader believes it is important to clarify the quintessence of Islam and expose the true face of radical Islamic movements.

"It is necessary to work on this problem, and every religious organization, which seeking to explain the role of Islam and the essence of radical Islamic movements, deserves support and respect, Alkhanov commented on the move of the Fatkh (Victory) Russian-Islamic Association towards active combat against religious extremism.

The Chechen president voiced his intention to develop active cooperation with Muslim organizations on this problem.

Chechnya's incumbent government is ready for a dialogue with everyone who pursues peaceful settlement of the situation in the republic, the Chechen president stated.

"A dialogue with separatists is underway. The policy of Akhmad Kadyrov (Chechnya's first president, who was assassinated by terrorists on May 9, 2004) sought a dialogue with those who for some or another reason turned out on the opposite side. As a result many have returned and currently work in different state structures of Chechnya," Alkhanov was quoted as saying.

Alkhanov stressedthat the priority task is to solve the unemployment problem in the republic.

According to the president, there are currently about 500,000 workless people in Chechnya, with only 130,000 people odd employed. "We hope to create fifteen to twenty thousand new jobs this year, although it will not be enough," he said.

Noting that he had already raised this question during his visit to Strasbourg, Alkhanov remarked, "The European Parliament will obviously emphasize on the humanitarian line, precisely the construction of hospitals, asylums for disabled children totaling about 50,000 people in Chechnya. I think it will be great help to the republic."



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