The head of the OSCE security body expressed regret Monday that Russia has not yet agreed to allow its workers back into Chechnya, despite promises made at a summit last November.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, chairperson-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also lamented that no progress had been made by Moscow on a number of other commitments.
"In spite of the promises by Russia .. we have not yet managed to get the Assistance Group back," she said, referring to an OSCE mission withdrawn from Chechnya last year due to a flare-up in the conflict.
"This is all the more regrettable as I believe we could provide essential help there," she said in an address to a meeting of the OSCE foreign ministers in Vienna.
Russia, under former President Boris Yeltsin, signed a declaration at a November 1999 OSCE summit in Istanbul pledging to allow the OSCE to restore its mission to Chechnya.
Ferrero-Waldner, Austria's foreign minister, also noted that little or no progress had been made despite Russian commitments on issues including Moldova and Georgia.
Diplomats had signaled that Russia had blocked a number of points in a final declaration due to be agreed by the foreign ministers of the 55-member OSCE during their two-day meeting in Vienna.
The OSCE works by consensus, and therefore the declaration was expected to include watered-down comments on key problems -- VIENNA (AFP)
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