Office of the Spokesman
December 12, 2003
Taken Question from December 12, 2003 Daily Press Briefing
Assistance to Chechnya (Taken Question)
Q: Has there been any discussion with the US concerning Russia welcoming international help with Chechnya?
A: The U.S. Government supports Russia's territorial integrity and right to defend itself against terrorism. At the same time, we consistently press the Russian Government to end human rights abuses and to prosecute those found responsible. We remain committed to a cessation of violence by all parties and to finding a sustainable political solution to the conflict. The United States has contributed over $98 million dollars since fiscal year 2000 to meet the humanitarian needs of Chechens in Chechnya and the surrounding areas of the North Caucasus. We would welcome further constructive cooperation from Russia on resolving the tragic situation in Chechnya.
One year ago Russia made it clear that the OSCE Assistance Group in Chechnya was no longer welcome there under its existing mandate. Although there have been some discussions in the intervening months of ways in which the international community might usefully contribute to stabilizing the situation in Chechnya, the lack of an international presence there creates an obstacle. The United States, among other Western governments, has made our views on this known to Russia and we remain open to discussing the matter with Russia.
Released on December 12, 2003