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    MOSCOW DOES NOT DECLINE TO COOPERATE WITH GLOBAL COMMUNITY ON CHECHNYA PROBLEM

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    MOSCOW, March 15, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has never declined to cooperation with the global community on the Chechen issue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov said in light of the meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which is opening in Geneva on March 15. Mr Fedotov's interview was published on the Russian foreign ministry's website on Monday.

    Mr Fedotov did not rule out that the Chechen issue may again be put forward at the UN meeting.

    "Our European partners and the United States are, unfortunately, dropping Chechnya-related stereotypes very slowly," said Mr Fedotov.

    The Russian government has proven that it is ensuring political settlement in Chechnya, while the normalization of the humans rights situation is an integral part of the process, said Mr Fedotov.

    "Submitting a draft resolution on Chechnya is, under the circumstances, like signalling the impropriety of Russia's political course in the North Caucasus. It would be the most inappropriate and ill-timed step on the part of the European Union," said Mr Fedotov.

    "Russia is open to cooperation with all who sincerely want to help settle the humanitarian problems facing the region," noted the deputy foreign minister. "However, we will not allow anybody to speculate on human rights observance in Chechnya, to earn political dividends on the situation in the republic," Mr Fedotov said in conclusion.

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