Yevgeny Primakov Prepares to Sue Austrian Newspaper

Yevgeny Primakov, the President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is preparing to sue the Austrian newspaper Der Standard over an article published under his name on October 31, 2002. The article relates to the problem of finding a solution to the Chechen conflict. On Wednesday the Chamber's press office announced that the article 'was a total forgery', as it 'was neither submitted for publication by Primakov, nor even written by him.'

The article in Der Standard sets out a plan in Primakov's name for a peaceful resolution of the Chechen crisis. The newspaper reveals that 'in the opinion of the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an escalation of military action has no prospects of success, and so it is necessary to re-open talks with Aslan Maskhadov and his supporters.' The article states that it is essential to 'agree a ceasefire as soon as possible, after which the Chechens must renounce terrorist acts such as the massacre in Moscow'. The article goes on to say that 'for the Russian population, which is still in shock at the large number of dead hostages, nothing else would be acceptable.'

The Chamber's press office announced that Primakov had asked the editorial board of Der Standard for an official retraction of the publication of the article, and that if it is not forthcoming, he reserves the right to sue the newspaper.

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