Russia on Saturday accused Saudi Arabia of seeking to undermine its military operation in Chechnya and prevent a political solution to the conflict, a foreign ministry communique said.
The statement was an angry response to a Saudi declaration during the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Kuala Lumpur, which dubbed Russia's operation "an inhumane act against the Muslim people of Chechnya."
During last weeks OIC summit, Saudi Arabia also underlined the Chechen people's "right to self-determination," and called on Russia "to reject the use of force," the Russian foreign ministry statement reiterated.
The statement said Moscow was "deeply perplexed" by Saudi Arabia's assertions, but said they were tantamount to "putting a stick in the wheel" of its battle against Chechen separatists.
Saudi Arabia's criticism was a "blatant interference in Russia's internal affairs, in a bid to whip up hatred among a multinational population and question Russia's territorial integrity."
"To call on Russia not to use force against terrorists, slave traders and drug traffickers is putting a stick in the wheel of finding a political solution," the statement said – MOSCOW (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )