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Chechen MPs protest European support of independence movement

RIA Novosti

19/03/2009 15:48 GROZNY, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - Lawmakers in south Russia's Chechnya have protested against plans voiced by European Parliament members to form a faction to discuss Chechen independence, and branded it a diversionary tactic to avoid addressing EU problems.

"Members of (Chechnya's) parliament discussed at today's session the statement of a group of European members of parliament on creating a faction on Chechnya's independence, and voiced their indignation at this. The Chechen people have not asked anyone to solve non-existent problems on its behalf," Speaker Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov told RIA Novosti.

Chechnya already has all the necessary institutions of government and society, he said.

"This is an unofficial gathering of Polish and Lithuanian parliamentarians, who are trying to solve their own problems ahead of elections, and who have nothing to do with the people of Chechnya or its issues," he said.

"We consider this a provocation. If Polish and Lithuanian deputies are concerned over Chechens' rights, why are Chechens' rights violated most of all in these countries?"

Chechnya's separatist movement largely died out following the second war between insurgents and Russian forces, which ended nine years ago. The active phase of the Kremlin-led antiterrorism campaign in Chechnya officially ended in 2001, but sporadic militant attacks remain common in the North Caucasus republic, as well as in nearby provinces.

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