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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dudayev Said Ready to Talk If Yeltsin Honors Cease-Fire

Chechen leader Dzhokhar Dudayev has said he is ready to hold peace talks with President Boris Yeltsin through intermediaries but doubts whether Yeltsin's offer is sincere, according to Interfax.

"Any problems can be resolved once Yeltsin displays good will," Dudayev was quoted as saying in an interview with Azerbaijan's Turan news agency Tuesday.

However, he maintained his position that "serious talks can be [held] only after combat actions end and troops are pulled out," saying despite Yeltsin's announcement of a cease-fire Sunday "there is no trace of a cease-fire at all," Interfax reported.

Yeltsin's offer to holds talks with Dudayev through intermediaries was also dismissed by a Dudayev spokesman as not credible.

"[Dudayev's side] will wait a few days and see if there is going to be a real cease-fire," said Charles Tchkotoua, who was appointed ambassador to the European Union by Dudayev, speaking from his home in London.

In a televised address Sunday, Yeltsin announced a unilateral cease-fire and a gradual Russian troop pullout. He also made an offer to hold indirect talks with Dudayev.

But in Moscow, the president's press office could not answer questions on the appointment of an intermediary, although people from Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to ex-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev have offered to mediate.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sponsored of peace talks in Grozny last year, said it had not been asked by Moscow to resume its role of mediator.

and maintains an assistance group in the Chechen capital

Ruslan Khasbulatov, former speaker of Russia's Supreme Soviet and one of Chechnya's most famous figures since his stand against Yeltsin in the 1993 White House rebellion, also gave Yeltsin's offer little chance. The plan was bound to fail because it would be "unacceptable" to Dudayev, he said, according to Interfax reports.

"We did not expect to, either," said Tim Guliman, leader of the group. "One side has said they are ready to negotiate, now we must wait for the reaction from the other side."

The OSCE,welcomed Yeltsin's initiative and was ready to act as a go-between, he said.

Dudayev's side had not reacted so far to Yeltsin's offer

"It was more a political announcement, you know. It is a very unpopular war and he did it to get a boost in the polls," he said.

"Yeltsin has said these things before and the military goes on bombing regardless," he said, adding that he had received reports from Chechnya of very heavy bombing overnight.

"The fighters do not believe it at all,"

But Moscow had made no effort to contact the Chechen side before the announcement, said Tchkotoua, which would have been the normal procedure if they were serious.