USA looking for "suitable formula" for further OSCE activities in Chechnya

An official spokesman for the US State Department, Richard Baucher, told journalists Thursday that the George W. Bush administration was looking for a "suitable formula" that would make it possible for the OSCE to continue its activities in Chechnya.

Mr Baucher stressed that the USA hoped for further positive co-operation and highly effective humanitarian efforts that, according to him, are characteristic of the OSCE activities.

The US believes that the OSCE mission can now as before play an important role in ensuring observance of human rights in Chechnya, as well as contribute to the republic's economic development, the US diplomat said.

Mr. Baucher said that the US was conducting consultations on the matter with other OSCE member states.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said earlier that "not every our partner is ready to estimate the situation in Chechnya adequately and comprehend Chechnya's new reality. As a result, we failed to agree on a new OSCE mandate before December 31," the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

Meanwhile, Mr Yakovenko pointed out, "the OSCE mission is halting its activities in Chechnya, which does not mean an end to cooperation between Russia and the OSCE in the Chechen direction." Moscow is eager to consider other forms of cooperation, for instance, through other OSCE institutions such as the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

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