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Russia may soon end anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya

RIA Novosti

27/03/2009 19:06 GORKI (Moscow Region), March 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered on Friday the Federal Security Service (FSB) chief to consider formally ending the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya.

Russia has been conducting its counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya since September 1999. The operation includes the deployment of special police units, frequent police sweeps, and heightened security at key facilities.

"Due to the normalization of the situation in Chechnya...I believe there is a need to consider the issue of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya at a session of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NATC) and make the necessary decisions," Medvedev told Alexander Bortnikov.

The president said however that the FSB, together with other law-enforcement agencies, should continue monitoring the situation in the region, "reactivating when necessary parts of the counter-terrorist operation and conducting other security-related operations in Chechnya and other republics in southern Russia, which are still facing the threat of terrorist attacks."

"This work should not be stopped or reduced. We must, on the one hand, open new possibilities for citizens, to attract investment and create new jobs in Chechnya, but, on the other hand, we must continue the tough fight against terrorists," Medvedev said.

An official from the National Anti-Terrorist Committee later confirmed that the issue would be discussed at a NATC meeting on March 31.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov told journalists on Wednesday that the federal counter-terrorism operation in the Russian North Caucasus republic would be officially completed in late March.

Chechnya was devastated by two military campaigns, in 1994-1996 and 1999-2001, after which Moscow significantly scaled down its military presence in the republic.

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