Ingushetia's President: Refugees Return to Chechnya of Their Own Free Will

Ingushetia's President Murat Zyazikov has said that Chechen refugees are returning home "of their own free will." Ingushetia is a Russian republic neighboring on Chechnya where most Chechen refugees have taken refuge.

"No plans or schemes have been devised to return refugees, it is all done through written applications from refugees themselves", Ingushetia's President stressed in his interview with RIA Novosti in Strasbourg where he had arrived to attend a PACE session. By now 10,000 refugees have already applied for return to Chechnya, Murat Zyazikov noted.

According to him, the problem is that at times Ingushetia does not have time to create necessary conditions, so, a parliamentary commission is needed to tackle the backlog of applications.

Ingushetia's President said that in mid-2002 there were 200,000 displaced persons from Chechnya in the republic. Today's figure is down to 65,000, with 18,000 of them living in tent camps.

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