Chechnya to open embassy in Azerbaijan - rights activist

Ekho, Baku
13 Jul 04

The Azerbaijani authorities intend to help Chechen refugees and do not
object to the opening of a Chechen representative office in Baku,
Chechenpress news agency, which is close to [rebel President] Aslan
Maskhadov, has said. Musavat Party chairman Isa Qambar has already
commented on this news in an interview with Chechenpress news agency.

[Passage omitted: reported details]

In an interview with Ekho newspaper, Chechen human rights activist
Mayrbek Taramov said that the former head of the Chechen
representative office in Azerbaijan, Ali Asayev, spread this news at a
meeting with the Chechen diaspora in Azerbaijan. The Chechen human
rights activist said that official Baku could have given the "green
light" to the opening of a Chechen representative office to spite
Moscow - after Armenian President Robert Kocharyan's strongly-worded
speech at the Council of Europe. Taramov said that the Azerbaijani
authorities are aware of Russia's active support for Kocharyan in the
Karabakh issue.

Taramov also said that Moscow is unable to exert pressure on Baku
today.

"Azerbaijan is no longer a state that can be spoken to in the language
of force. The situation in the Caucasus leaves much to be desired for
Russia."

Moreover, "why should the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria not have its
representative office in Baku if a representative office of the
'Nagornyy Karabakh Republic' is operating in Moscow," the Chechen
human rights activist said.

The Russian embassy told Ekho yesterday that Azerbaijan has been
properly cooperating with the Russian Federation in the fight against
international terrorism. The embassy also noted that official Baku had
already expressed its position on the issue during the terrorist act
in Nord-Ost [theatre siege in Moscow in October 2002].

In turn, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry press service said that
Azerbaijan regards all the republics of the Russian Federation as
parts of that state. Therefore, the Foreign Ministry does not have
direct contacts with any representative offices, the press service
said.

The Foreign Ministry said that it was cooperating directly with the
Russian embassy in Baku.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress