US still thinks that negotiations should be started with Chechen terrorists.
On September 7 Russian Foreign Ministry made the statement that Russia intends to demand handing to it Chechen rebels Akhmed Zakaev and Ilyas Akhmadov who had been granted political asylum in Great Britain and the USA. It is early to say how Zakaev’s destiny will turn out. As for Akhmadov, he has no reasons to worry- the US authorities are not going to hand him to Russia.
One can come to such a conclusion after reading the long statement of the spokesman of the US Department of State Richard Boucher on Chechen problem. The spokesman did not mention Akhmadov’s name, but the key idea of Mr. Boucher was that the US position on the Chechen issue had not been changed, despite the recent terrorist acts in Russia where more than 500 people were killed.
Mr. Boucher said again that the USA insists on peaceful resolution of the Chechen conflict. Certainly, stopping the war would be an excellent thing. The issue is about finding a party to negotiate with. Which of the leaders of Chechen terrorists has sufficient power to order stop armed resistance?
However, Mr. Boucher had an answer to this question. He said that the USA and Russia have different estimation of the Chechen separatists. “This is the well-known old story that we have different opinions on certain personalities”, said Mr. Boucher. “The USA met with the people from Chechnya who have the opinion different from Russian government. We have the policy, and according to this policy we will meet with politicians, leaders having different perspective. We did it in the past. We can do or not do it in future, dependion g on what kind of people these people will be”.
Mr. Boucher stated that the US administration officials “do not meet terrorists”. He said that Washington is ready to consider the evidences Russia possesses “related to organizations or individuals who can be involved or have ties with terrorism, but our opinion on a number of these political figures is different from Russian, and this has been a fact for a long time”.
It is impossible to comprehend how Washington tells the difference between “clean” fighters for independence and the butchers like Basaev or Doku Umarov. Especially when “political figure” Maskhadov is in the same video or photo with Basaev…
Richard Boucher also commented on the statements of Russian authorities that the terrorist acts had been planned and conducted with support from abroad. Answering the question if there were foreigners linked with Al Qaida, among the terrorists in Beslan, the State Department spokesman said he had no information of this kind.
Summing up his statement, Richard Boucher said that under today’s circumstances, “our position, no doubt, is against those who conducted this terrorist act. Our position is also to fight, along with Russian government, against these terrorists – those who exploded planes, Moscow Metro or attacked the school. Russia encountered the problem of horrible and deadly dangerous terrorism, and we work with them (Russians) in different directions, exchange information, cooperate in the UN to fight terrorism as we understand the threats Russia is facing”.
Nevertheless, with whom and how could negotiations be started to settle the conflict in Chechnya by political means, as Washington desires? Obviously, the recommendations given by the USA and the EU, are far from the realities of life. It is uneasy to remind about Iraq and Afghanistan, needless to say about Israel and Palestine. It looks like that neither Washington nor the EU cannot face the truth – there are no political figures among Chechen terrorists who would deserve a dialog.