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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechens Vow to Rein In Raduyev

The government of Chechnya intends to arrest renegade warlord Salman Raduyev, who claimed responsibility for two explosions that killed four people in southern Russia last month, a Chechen presidential aide said Monday.


The Chechen authorities do not believe Raduyev's claims -- made on television Sunday -- but want to rein in the independent-minded commander whose threats to continue the war against Russia have hampered attempts to normalize relations with Moscow, Ruslan Kutayev, an aide to Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, said at a press conference in Moscow.


"I think the appropriate measures will soon be taken by law enforcement agencies in respect of Raduyev, and we in the Chechen Republic will put an end to statements which discredit its government," he said.


Kutayev's comments came as President Boris Yeltsin met security adviser Ivan Rybkin in Moscow to lay the basis for planned peace talks with Maskhadov. After evading the question in recent days concerning whether a presidential summit will take place, the Kremlin now appears ready to meet after the May 9 Victory Day holiday.


"The federal side will not lack goodwill," Rybkin said, quoted by Interfax.


Raduyev's extreme statements have served to undermine the credibility of the Chechen leadership on a number of occasions. Critics of the current Chechen administration point to the existence of Raduyev and his band of guerrillas as proof that Maskhadov is not in control of the republic.


Chechen officials on Monday repeated their claims, however, that Russian security forces seeking to derail peace negotiations were the ones behind the bombings -- an explosion two weeks ago in the train station at Armavir, in southern Russia, killed two people and injured nine, and a second blast last week in Pyatigorsk killed two and wounded 15.


Raduyev's statements were "the fruit of his imagination," Kutayev said, adding that an arrest warrant had been issued by Chechen Vice President Vakha Arsanov.


Chechnya's deputy prosecutor general, Ibrahim Khamidov, said a criminal investigation was launched against Raduyev following his statements about staging the attacks in Russia, Interfax said.


The warlord's aides told Interfax Monday that Raduyev is prepared to meet with Maskhadov and answer all questions.


Raduyev claimed responsibility for the two bomb attacks in an interview broadcast Sunday on NTV television. He also threatened to unleash more violence against Russia.


While the issue of terrorism has led to charges and counter charges, it has not derailed peace talks aimed at regulating the breakaway region's relations with Moscow.


Rybkin, coordinator of Russian policy on Chechnya, has been negotiating with Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Movladi Udugov on a settlement that would put an end to the centuries-old conflict between Moscow and Chechnya.


After a meeting with Yeltsin on Monday, Rybkin told journalists that differences remain between the two sides that can only be settled by the two presidents.


The Russian president has given orders that the agreements with Chechnya must be finalized soon, his spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told Interfax on Monday.


The documents scheduled to be signed include a political agreement, a banking agreement and an agreement on the oil industry, said Yastrzhembsky.


Boris Berezovsky, Rybkin's deputy on the Security Council, told NTV's "Hero of the Day" program Monday night that the documents will address the entire history of the Russian-Chechen conflict and "make an attempt to assess without hypocrisy what happened, and draw a line under it."


Berezovsky also called for submitting the treaty to Russia's parliament, predicting that deputies would ratify any agreement since they "cannot ignore the fact that society does not want the war to continue," Interfax reported.


Kutayev said Yeltsin and Maskhadov will probably meet after the May 9 Victory Day holiday, according to Interfax. The exact time and place of the meeting are yet to be scheduled, Kutayev said.


In a satellite telephone conversation with the editor of the Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, Raduyev also claimed responsibility for an earlier explosion at an ammunition depot in the Far Eastern region of Birobidzhan.