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Acting President and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) headed by its President Lord Russell-Johnston

January 17, 2000, The Kremlin, Moscow

During the three-hour meeting, Mr Putin and Lord Russell-Johnston discussed the situation in the North Caucasus and the prospects of a political settlement in the Chechen Republic.

Mr Putin said the Russian leadership understood the world public’s concern over the events in the North Caucasus, but would like the international community to base its assessment of Russia’s position on real and verified facts rather than propaganda.

The acting president emphasised that Russia had always been open for cooperation with different international organisations in achieving settlement in the Chechen Republic, and said he was prepared to answer any questions the PACE delegates might have.

European parliamentarians asked Mr Putin about the developments in the North Caucasus. In particular, they wanted to know why the Russian leaders had to resort to the current measures, how justified Moscow’s actions were, and to what extent the rights of civilians were observed in Chechnya and the rest of the North Caucasus.

They also wanted to establish whether Moscow’s actions in the North Caucasus complied with Russia’s international commitments, in particular in the sphere of human rights.

Taking part in the meeting on the Russian side were Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Emergencies Ministry Sergei Shoigu, and Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Rushailo.

In order to evaluate the situation in the North Caucasus, the PACE delegation will visit the Chechen Republic on January 18–19. After the visit, the European MPs will prepare a special report to be discussed at a regular PACE session in Strasbourg later in January.

January 17, 2000, The Kremlin, Moscow