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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Two Sides Retire to Consider Positions

COMBINED REPORTS


GROZNY -- Chechen and Russian delegates retired for consultations Thursday as agreement on a political settlement still eluded them after an all-night session.


The Chechen delegation left Grozny for the mountains to confer with their leader, Dzhokhar Dudayev, while the Russian team held a meeting among themselves Thursday, Itar-Tass reported.


Russia's chief negotiator, Arkady Volsky, said an agreement on ending the seven-month war could be imminent, Itar-Tass reported.


"I am very much satisfied with the results," he told reporters, adding that the peace talks "could be finished in a day or two."


The talks were set to resume Friday afternoon allowing the two sides time to work on their positions for a final document, Zenon Kikhnyak, a representative at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told Itar-Tass.


"The delegation needs to study in detail several drafts of the final documents, worked out in the course of consultations with the Russian delegation," chief Chechen negotiator Usman Imayev said before leaving, Itar-Tass reported.


The two sides had toiled virtually round the clock for the last two days over the main issue -- the status of Chechnya -- without success.


Imayev later handed over the latest Chechen proposals, Ekho Moskvy radio reported. Unlike Volsky, the Chechen negotiators were downbeat, saying the only result so far was that the two sides were determined to continue talking. The political future of Dudayev is not on the agenda, and is not being linked to Chechnya's status, Imayev told Ekho Moskvy.


"The Russian delegation made us such an offer that, if we accepted it, people would tear us apart in the streets," Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov told the radio station.


Chechen delegate Akhmed Zakayev said, "Not a single issue has been resolved at the negotiations apart from the military set of issues," referring to the military protocol signed June 21.


In Grozny anti-Dudayev demonstrators clashed with security guards accompanying the Chechen negotiators. The guards roughly dispersed the crowd, Itar-Tass said. The fracas sparked rival Chechen demonstrations in the city. ()