The evidence of Maskhadov's link to the terrorist attack in Moscow have been made public.
A tape-recorded telephone conversation between the gang leader, Movsar Barayev, and one of his associates which proves that Maskhadov knew about the Moscow terrorist attacks has been made public at a press conference held at the Foreign Ministry press-center on Thursday.
Answering the question of his associate, a Nadjmidin, Barayev confirmed that Maskhadov was well-informed about the attack.
In another conversation, on October 25, this time with Yandarbiyev, answering the question if Maskhadov had been informed, Barayev said that "when the prior operation was held Aslan attended it." "I act with Shamil's consent," Barayev said, "if Shamil works under him then he /Maskhadov/ must be informed." Commenting on the extracts from the terrorist's telephone conversations, Russian Presidential Aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky stressed that they "pointed out to the fact that Maskhadov had known about the attack and the hostage takers in Moscow acted with his consent as well." Yastrzhembsky stressed that the Moscow hostage taking deeply undermined Maskhadov's image outside Russia.
"We analyze the foreign media coverage of the attack in Moscow and we can state that Maskhadov's image has paled especially among those who is pressing the Russian authorities to negotiate with Maskhadov," Yastrzhembsky stated.
According to him, the evidence on tape should reverse the attitude to Maskhadov's figure. At the same time, Yastrzhembsky noted, we might as well witness attempts to whitewash Maskhadov's image in relation with the Moscow terrorist attack.
He added that the conversation captured on tape revealed to the journalists that Yandarbiyev tried to suggest a policy to the terrorists which would eventually let Maskhadov get away with the Moscow hostage taking, stressing the need for keeping his political role in the conflict.
"We believe that in the near future some gang leaders will attempt certain steps in order to win back Maskhadov's political image," Yastrzhembsky stressed.
At the same time the Russian Presidential Aide pointed out that the tape revealed to the media is not the only evidence which the Russian authorities have. There is other evidence which proves Maskhadov's implication in the terrorist attack in Moscow.
The journalists also listened to a telephone conversation of an Abu Bakar, one of the hostage-takers in the Moscow theatre center. He said that if the authorities refused to satisfy their demands the terrorists "would do that of which Hitler was incapable." "We do not intend to trade," Abu Bakar stressed. "If our demands are met, then we'll release a couple of hostages and try to contact. If we don't get what we want afterwards we'll push the button and the whole place will blow up." The terrorist claimed that all over the city they had their suicide associates waiting for the signal, "with Russian passports and Moscow registration."
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