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Postby admin » Tue May 24, 2016 11:55 pm

First of all, I would like to thank the world renowned human rights advocates who signed the appeal of "The Russian National Committee to End the War and Make Peace in the Chechen Republic" for their courage, for their firm civic stand, and for their humane and civilized perspective on the situation in Chechnya.I would like once again to call to the attention of President Putin, the people of Russia and the world at large that no one has gained and no one can gain from this war and from our many years of conflict. People on both sides are dying, and instead of constructive development, we see only havoc and destruction. Enormous material resources have been allocated, supposedly for rebuilding, but they have disppeared no one knows where, and whatever was rebuilt after the first war is being destroyed once again. We are caught in a vicious circle which we cannot and must not ignore. I am convinced that we can resolve our differences in the interests of our peoples if only both leaders have a sincere desire to do so and are willing to listen to each other with open minds.This war has benefited neither Russians nor Chechens and only aggravates our mutual relations which were complicated enough already. I assure you that we Chechens derive no pleasure from this war. We are fighting not for the first time to save our nation from genocide, from the barbaric "scorched earth" strategy which has been employed by Russia against the Chechen people for 300 years.I was chosen by the Chechen people to be President of the Republic by means of a legitimate election monitored by Russian as well as international observers. Neither I nor the true sons of the fatherland who have joined me in our struggle against aggression, against the monstrous and repeated violence suffered by the Chechen people, are bandits or terrorists. The very accusation is blasphemous and cynical. I ask and insist that the choice of my people be respected, that they be given the right to decide for themselves who will be their leader and what will be the character of their state and government.From the very beginning of the current war I have repeatedly stated that we are taking the wrong road to settle our mutual relations. We have already tried this road and nothing good has come of it. Revenge, hatred, punitive measures do not lead anywhere. It is impossible to resolve international or interethnic conflicts in this way. History has demonstrated this on more than one occasion. This road brings grief, suffering, and great hardship to all the peoples involved and provokes still more mutual resentment and hatred.I offered to sit down at the negotiating table even during the fullscale war which Russia has been waging against my people, falsely depicting it as a "counterterrorist operation." I suggested that we decide all contested issues in a civilized manner and declared myself ready, given appropriate evidence, to conduct a joint struggle to suppress the terrorism, drugs and banditry infesting the Chechen Republic and other regions as well. As President of the Republic, I needed then and need now to engage in dialogue with the Russian leadership. I am quite sure that Boris Yeltsin sees many issues of our mutual relations in a different light today than he did when he was President of Russia. Much could have been done otherwise, but the scales are tilted again toward the use of force because continued chaos and lawlessness make it easier for certain people to acquire property, to grow rich, to rise in rank and office.History and geography oblige us to accept compromises in our mutual relations and the bloody outcome of our past interactions is the best evidence that we have been on the wrong track. Until now, however strange it may seem, no one has tried to base their dealings with the Chechens on a good neighbor policy, on the principles of mutual respect and recognition of our lawful claim to this land. I know my people and I am confident that Russia would gain a reliable and loyal neighbor if it instituted equitable relations with us. But so far, no one has tried to settle all the outstanding issues on the basis of a good neighbor policy. Instead, Russian generals and politicians have indulged in wishful thinking, they have twisted facts and wildly distorted reality, giving these a nationalistic, great power spin, and thereby provoking both the first and second Russian-Chechen wars. After the first war, our Republic lay in ruins, our people were impoverished. We tried to repair our relations with Russia. I know this and Boris Yeltsin knows this. But instead of assistance and support we were subjected to the full range of the Russian special services' subversive operations. That was not the kind of help we should have had. Now we need a new approach. When the first war began, the presidents were Boris Yeltsin and Jokhar Dudaev. Now they are Vladimir Putin and Aslan Maskhadov. The consequences of these two wars are not at all what the past and current presidents anticipated. We need a fresh approach. I cannot accept the present state of affairs which only aggravates the conflict and hatred between our peoples. That is not my way.For the sake of my people's future, despite everything that has happened, I sincerely believe that the Chechen and Russian peoples will have to reach an accommodation. I officially declare that I am ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the Russian leaders and to engage in a dialogue about peace without prior conditions. Whatever the outcome of these talks, I am convinced that the future of our peoples depends on mutual respect and understanding. If we don't succeed in achieving this, others will do so in the future. And whoever they may be, they will go down in history as wise statesmen and leaders.Repectfully,
Aslan MaskhadovPresident of the Chechen Republic Ichkeria

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