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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Insists Chechnya Is Russia Issue

OSLO, Norway -- President Vladimir Putin brushed aside European advice on a peaceful solution to the Chechen conflict on Tuesday, saying it had to be solved by the Russian and Chechen people alone.

"Of course we listen to advice from our colleagues in Europe," Putin told a news conference in Oslo after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der, who said he hoped for a peaceful, political solution in Chechnya.

"It is an internal Russian problem to be solved between the Chechen people and the Russian Federation," Putin said.

"We don't want to turn up our noses and say that others' opinions are irrelevant," he said. "The problem is so complicated that no one can give really good advice."

Putin said Europe had some good examples of conflict resolution but that other conflicts had rumbled on unsolved in other parts of Europe for hundreds of years.

Schr?der praised Putin for his call earlier this week to hold a constitutional referendum in Chechnya but insisted: "The political process on Chechnya must continue."

"We have taken note of how the political process with regard to Chechnya is being organized and moved forward. This involves in particular the constitutional process and is, I believe, a good start that deserves our support," Schr?der said.

Putin and Schr?der met in Oslo after Putin canceled a visit to Germany last month during the theater siege. Both men were, by coincidence, on visits to Norway.

As Putin arrived in his Mercedes limousine, which was flown in from Moscow, to meet Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, about 50 protesters chanted "Stop the war in Chechnya" from across the street. An equal number of police with shields ensured that the activists from Amnesty International, the Helsinki Committee and other groups kept their distance.

Putin was received by Norway's King Harald V before meeting Bondevik and was to have talks with top political and business leaders before returning to Moscow on Tuesday evening.

(Reuters, AP)