Chechen Leader Meets US Officials
Feb. 15, 2000
WASHINGTON (AP) _ In a move certain to annoy Russia, U.S. diplomats held a meeting in the State Department with a leader of the breakaway Chechen parliament.
State Department spokesman James P. Rubin confirmed that the Deputy Chairman of the Chechen Parliament, Seilam Bechaev, met Monday with working level officials responsible for Russian, human rights and refugee affairs.
Russia does not recognize the Chechen parliament. Russian officials expressed anger several weeks ago when a top official of the breakaway Chechen government met with State Department officials away from department headquarters.
Moscow believes that such encounters give international standing to a group it regards as essentially terrorist.
Rubin said the meeting Monday focused on human rights and humanitarian issues. ``We made clear our view that all parties in the conflict should cease fighting and intensify the political dialogue to bring about a lasting peace,'' he said.