Russian legislator: terrorists' demand to withdraw troops from Chechnya "impossible to meet"

Alexander Gurov, the head of the State Duma (lower chamber of legislature) Security Committee, believes that the terrorists' main demand - to withdraw federal troops from Chechnya - "is currently impossible to meet," but the authorities "should negotiate it." Gurov told journalists on Thursday that the most important thing in this situation was not to obstruct the law-enforcers' work.

Gurov stressed that these were "professionals who know their job" who were deployed to the theatre centre where hundreds of hostages were being kept.

He also urged the mass media that were working on the scene "not to assume negotiators' function and be careful with regard to the information they obtain and if there are any doubts about it, they should address professionals to check it." Gurov believes that the way out of this situation is "not the use of force, but negotiations." "The primary objective now is to protect the hostages' life at any cost," Gurov stated.

At the same time, he noted that the terrorists who had taken hostage civilians "may trigger unprecedented bloodshed" and "even Chechens can curse them."

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