Moscow is Surprised with PACE's Refusal to Send Observers to Chechen Referendum

Federal Minister on Chechnya Stanislav Ilyasov is surprised with the decision of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe /PACE/ not to send their observers to the referendum on the Chechen Constitution scheduled to take place on March 23rd. "I cannot account for their decision so far," Ilyasov said on Tuesday in his interview with RIA Novosti.

Ilyasov pointed out that the PACE refused to send observers to Chechnya "for security reasons" and recalled that representatives from different European organisations including the PACE had repeatedly visited Chechnya. He himself accompanied them in such trips, the Minister said. "Then they were not so concerned about security," he stated. "They just seem to have no desire to go," he pointed out.

"I believe there are forces in Europe that are not interested in a political settlement in Chechnya," Ilyasov stated.

"Along with economic reforms Chechnya is and will be making political ones," he stressed. The Minister is convinced that the federal authorities are on the right track and the Constitution will be adopted.

At a Monday meeting in Paris the PACE bureau decided not to send their observers to the Chechen referendum.