#14 - JRL 2009-150 - JRL Home
Chechen official, exile agree to hold world congress of Chechens in 2009

Moscow, 13 August: Chechen speaker Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov and separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev have agreed to hold a world congress of the Chechen people, aimed at developing decisions to settle the situation in the republic which are legitimate for Chechen society. Furthermore, the forum may be held in 2009.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has already approved the holding of the congress, where it is proposed that both delegates from Chechnya itself and representatives of the Chechen diaspora around the world will participate. For his part, Zakayev believes that the position of the Chechen leadership was developed "not without coordination with the Russian leadership". In this regard, he expressed the hope that the congress would be successful. (Passage omitted)

An agreement to hold the congress was reached in London during the second round of consultations between Abdurakhmanov and Zakayev which began on 10 August. Earlier they had met in Oslo on 1 July this year.

"We decided to hold a world congress of the Chechen people to resolve all vital and current issues of the whole of Chechen society, in order to change the current situation and lay a foundation for the future," Zakayev said at a press conference in London.

Meanwhile, Zakayev insists that no one wants to discredit the institution or turn it into a gathering of "the followers of Zakayev and Kadyrov". In connection with this, the proposal to convene the congress will be submitted to the congress's headquarters in Brussels, which will begin preparations to hold (the congress).

"We are going to suggest to the organizers that the congress be held before the end of this year," Abdurakhmanov said.

The congress of the Chechen people is an independent Chechen institution and unites delegates from both the republic itself and from the Chechen diaspora all around the world. The last time it convened was in 2002 in Copenhagen. The decisions of the congress are passed and accepted by both the Chechen government and the people of Chechnya themselves, Abdurakhmanov said.

"Poor peace is better than good war," Zakayev said, commenting on the results of the negotiations.

Chechen ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev has already described holding the congress as "the best way to consolidate Chechen society and to resolve all the current issues which have built up in recent years". (Passage omitted)

At a press conference in London on Tuesday (11 August) Zakayev was asked whether he would ever return to Chechnya. He said: "At some point yes, but we have not discussed this issue, it is not an issue for our consultations."

Zakayev added that he had no information regarding the current stage of the criminal case which was launched against him in Russia.

"I was not informed when it was launched. Nor do I have any information now," he said. (Passage omitted).

During the press conference in London, Zakayev said that he believed that Kadyrov had nothing to do with the murders of human rights activists Natalya Estemirova, Zarema Sadulayeva and Alik Dzhabrailov.
(Passage omitted)

"I do not believe that Ramzan Kadyrov is behind those murders. I am absolutely certain that it is not in Ramzan Kadyrov's interests to organize these murders," Zakayev said.

However, the authorities bear "not legal, but political" responsibility for these crimes, Zakayev added.

The inability of the Russian and Chechen governments to solve even one high-profile crime discredits both of them, Zakayev said. At the same time, he expressed the hope that recent statements by Kadyrov and Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev would lead to tangible results.

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