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    COMMAND OVER ANTI-TERRORIST OPERATION IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

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    MOSCOW, February 19, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The top brass of the Russian interior ministry's troops sees no reason for passing the command over the anti-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus over to the Chechen interior ministry. Head of the General Staff of the Russian interior ministry's troops, Colonel General Nikolai Rogozhkin told reporters on Thursday.

    "I believe that the forces and means of the Russian interior ministry's troops are more suitable for jointly tackling the tasks facing Chechnya," said Rogozhkin.

    In his words, all the tasks in Chechnya are carried out by the joint group of forces in the North Caucasus in concert with the Chechen republic's interior ministry subdivisions.

    The general said that the strength of the interior ministry's troops in Chechnya amounted to 25,000 people.

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