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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lobov Defends OSCE

MOSCOW () -- President Boris Yeltsin's special envoy has defended European mediators at peace talks in rebel Chechnya against accusations they had aided separatists, Interfax said.

Bislan Gantemirov, mayor of Grozny, had earlier ordered suspension of the activities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's mission, accusing it of harboring armed rebels.

But Yeltsin's personal envoy in Chechnya, Oleg Lobov, told Interfax on Saturday that Moscow did not support such charges. He said Russian authorities would ensure the safety of the mission's members.

Interfax said the mission headquarters in the war-scarred city had been practically sealed off by Grozny police and Russian troops since Thursday.