Russian Activists Appeal to West to Help Stop Chechen War
Russian human rights activists went over the head of President Vladimir Putin Thursday and appealed to the leaders of the world's G7 most industrialized countries to force the Kremlin to negotiate an end to the 20-month war in Chechnya.
The Chechen conflict was "our national disgrace, but also a disgrace for the international community as a whole," said former Soviet dissident and human rights campaigner Sergei Kovalyov, on behalf of the Committee for Ending War and Restoring Peace in Chechnya.
Kovalyov, a former rights ombudsman under Putin's predecessor Boris Yeltsin, launched the committee's appeal at a press conference during which he accused the G7 nations of being "silent accessories" to the long-running separatist conflict.
The committee has sent a letter to US President George W. Bush and the other G7 leaders who are scheduled to meet Putin at a summit in Genoa, Italy, on July 21-22.
"We appeal to you to raise with President Putin the necessity of immediately beginning peace talks between Russia and Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov," the letter urges -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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