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    THOUSANDS OF CHECHEN REFUGEES REFUSE TO RETURN HOME

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    MOSCOW, January 29, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - About 15,000 Chechen refugees who are currently living in other federation members are not going home. Deputy Chief of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Interior Ministry Mikhail Tyurkin said this at a briefing on Thursday.

    He also emphasised that the refugees would not be forced out of the Chechen republic.

    "The interior ministry top brass earlier met Jan Egeland, UN Humanitarian Coordinator (Emergency Relief coordinator) and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, to discuss the problems of the North Caucasus region," said Tyurkin.

    In his words, at issue was humanitarian assistance of international organisations to Chechen residents. "Today such assistance is provided to the former Chechen residents, who are temporarily living outside the republic," Tyurkin said. He also emphasised that Egeland had promised to review the activity of international organisations in this area.

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