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    SETTLEMENT IN CHECHNYA IS IRREVOCABLE - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, January 23, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Protasenko) - The process of a political settlement in Chechnya, no matter how complicated it may be, is irrevocable. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov spoke about it at the news conference on Friday.

    "There is no war in Chechnya, but a very complicated fight against international terrorism is going on against the background of the complicated political settlement," Igor Ivanov said.

    He underscored that Russia would like Europe to have an objective view of the processes going on in Chechnya.

    In his turn, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said at the news conference that from his point of view the settlement process in Chechnya would be very long. Therefore, he continued, it is necessary to do everything possible to contribute to the implementation of this process.

    "France is convinced that the problem can be solved only through a political settlement, the only one possible in this situation," said Dominique de Villepin. He emphasised that France is convinced that the problem cannot be solved by the use of arms.

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