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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

OSCE: No Talks Until Sweeps End

Federal troops must curb unregulated security sweeps in Chechen villages before peace talks to end a 30-month conflict in the rebel region can take place, the head of the OSCE mission in Chechnya said.

Jorma Inki said in an interview that house-to-house searches to flush out rebel fighters are dissuading thousands of refugees from returning home and preventing them from choosing peace negotiators who alone could help find a political solution.

Moscow has sat down for talks with Chechen rebels only once in almost three years of military operations.

"Now, if somebody tries to hold elections, to create some kind of constitution and legislation, it is not enough, because the political infrastructure is lacking," Inki said at the Moscow office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. "There has to be this infrastructure, otherwise they would be just fake elections."

He said the main reason 150,000 refugees remained in tent cities in neighboring Ingushetia was unregulated mopping-up operations, which both human rights groups and the international community have condemned.