Draft document to divide authorities between federal centre and Chechnya to be signed by October 1st

A draft document to divide authorities between the federal centre and the Chechen republic will be prepared by the working group by October 1st, Russian Minister on Chechen affairs Stanislav Ilyasov stated on Wednesday in Paris.

At a "round table" in the Russian Cultural Centre in Paris he met representatives of the French community and informed them on the normalisation process in Chechnya.

For example, the Minister said that Chechens would receive compensatory payments worth 30 bln roubles (about 1 bln dollars) for their lost houses and property. September will see the beginning payments, which are due to be finished in 2004. "This is a complicated task, but we will cope with it," Ilyasov stressed.

A significant part of the Russian Minister's speech was devoted to the problem of international terrorism, which Russia encounters in Chechnya. Former leaders turned Chechnya into "a training base for international terrorism", and we must "eliminate such places on our planet, no matter if they are in Russia, the USA or France". "Nobody can hide from this threat, it must be jointly eliminated," the Minister stated.

French speakers - representatives of non-government organisations, public and religious figures - speaking at the meeting agreed that terrorism was not only Russian, but also European and even global problem. They criticised western mass media in general and French ones in particular for not giving an objective picture of the processes going on in Chechnya.

After the "round table" the centre hosted the opening of the photo exhibition under the name "Chechnya: a hard way to peace".

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