Chechnya focus of International security summit

At the start of the European Security Summit in Istanbul, President Yeltsin has rejected calls to find a political solution to the conflict in the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

This content was published on November 18, 1999 - 10:29

President Yeltsin has rejected calls from western leaders to find a political solution to the conflict in Chechnya.

During a brief appearance at the European Security Summit in Istanbul, Yeltsin said Moscow would never negotiate with "rebels and killers", referring to Islamic guerrillas fighting for an independent state in the Caucasus.

Responding to criticism from President Clinton, President Chirac of France and Germany's chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, Yeltsin said he was convinced that stability and security in Europe could not be established without Russia.

A new European security charter improving cross-border policing has been signed, despite fears that Russian opposition would force it to be postponed.

Switzerland is represented at the talks by the president, Ruth Dreifuss, and the foreign minister, Joseph Deiss. After making much of the development aid which Switzerland gives to Russia, Switzerland could threaten to withdraw that support if the Chechnen situation isn't peacefully resolved.

Aside from the Chechen debate, Dreifuss is representing Switzerland at a fringe meeting on human rights and the slave trade. But the talk will not just be of abuses in faraway lands. Correspondents say the question of illegal immigrants in Switzerland who are working under near slave conditions makes it a burning issue for the Swiss government.

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