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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Make Peace, Clinton Tells Rebels, Moscow

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- U.S. President Bill Clinton on Friday called on Russia and Chechen rebels to "stop spilling blood and start making peace" and said Washington would continue to support the building of democracy in Russia.


"Every day the fighting in Chechnya continues is a day of wasted lives and wasted opportunities," Clinton said in a speech to an Eastern European trade conference.


Clinton said the United States was not wavering from its policy that the breakaway-minded region of Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation, but he made clear he was growing impatient with the continued fighting.


"We support the territorial integrity of Russia, just as we support the territorial integrity of all its neighbors, but the violence must end. I call again on all the parties to stop spilling blood and start making peace," he said, suggesting that European mediation offers would be a good starting place.


In Delhi, U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry said Friday that there was a danger that Russian military action in Chechnya could cause instability elsewhere in the country.


Perry told a news conference in the Indian capital that the United States believed Russia had a right to take military action to preserve its federation but that Moscow's response in the breakaway region was inappropriate.


"We're concerned even though we believe that the Russian government has the right to take military action to protect and to preserve its federation," Perry said.


French Foreign Minister Alain Jupp? on Friday condemned the fighting in Chechnya and reminded Russia of its human rights commitments.


"We have ... demanded that Russia halt all violence and open negotiations because this crisis must be solved politically," said Jupp?, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency. "We have very clearly indicated to Russia that its wish to cooperate with the European Union requires that it respects these (human rights) principles," Jupp? told a news conference in Helsinki.


In a letter to the Times of London, former Russian ambassador to Britain Boris Pankin accused President Boris Yeltsin of showing "Bolshevik, authoritarian" reflexes in Chechnya.