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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Maskhadov Talks Set

MOSCOW -- Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin said he would meet Aslan Maskhadov, the president of separatist Chechnya, this week.

"I want peace in Chechnya and no more kidnappings. All this will be discussed with Maskhadov," Stepashin, whose reputation remains tarred by his leading role in the catastrophic 1994-96 war with Chechnya, said Sunday in televised remarks.

The Kremlin insists that Chechnya is part of Russia but it has no authority in the region, which enjoys de facto independence from Moscow. Influential Chechen field commanders insist on full formal independence from Moscow.

Stepashin did not say whether he would discuss the issue of independence with Maskhadov, who is considered a moderate. They will meet Friday in the southern town of Magas near Chechnya.