PACE observer absence to produce no effect on Chechnya's rederendum

The absence of PACE observers is not to affect the results of Chechnya's constitution referendum to take place on March 23, said in a RIA Novosti interview Abdul-Khakim Sultygov, the Russian president's special human rights representative in Chechnya. "Democratic procedures in one of the federation's jurisdictions is our goodwill," noted Sultygov. "We have sent invitations to foreign observers and it is now up to them whether to come or not." "In the final analysis, their presence or, the more so, absence counts very little," he added.

Having invited PACE experts, "we showed out openness and that we were willing to provide better conditions for them than those which were available in 1997 when elections followed a nazi scheme, said Sultygov. "Observers must have preferred to have extremist units being responsible for their security," he added.

"Some might not like to attend a Constitution referendum, so let them come to watch presidential elections," concluded Sultygov.