ALMATY, Feb 7
(THE GLOBE based on materials from media)
on Sunday Vladimir Putin announced the completion of the campaign by the federal army to liberate Grozny, Novosti agency states. In the interview to the Russian TV channel RTR Putin said that the troops had occupied the last bastion of the Chechen army � the Zavodskoi district of the town. �So, we may ascertain that the campaign on liberation of Grozny has completed,� Putin declared.
According to the Defense Ministry, there are still thousand of gunmen in Grozny, but they do not put up any serious resistance to federal forces. The remaining gunmen rather think how they can leave the town.
There are skirmishes in the Chechen capital, initiated by small groups of gunmen. They happen mainly when gunmen try to leave the town through underground communications.
The federal commanders decided to stop artillery and aviation strikes on Grozny. According to the Russian commanders, soon the town will be cleared, and efforts of the Russian servicemen will be focused on mountainous regions, where at present 6 to 7 thousand gunmen are.
The Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov announced in his interview to the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia that he was going to win back Grozny. �We temporarily ceded Grozny. Later we will win it back,� he said.
According to Maskhadov, separated groups of gunmen remain in Grozny. Maskhadov confirmed that field commanders Ismailov and Israpilov had died, and Shamil Basaev seriously wounded. Maskhadov also said that he did not know where the Radio Liberty correspondent Andrei Babitsky was. �If he were with us, we would guarantee his safety.�
In his interview to Radio Liberty he also confirmed that about three thousand Chechen soldiers had broken away from Grozny to the mountains via the village of Katyr-yurt near Achkhoi-Martan. The native of the village Katyr-yurt who has just come from Chechnya and called the Moscow department of Radio Liberty, said that over a day the village was stricken by the aviation and artillery. A half of the village ruined. Streets and yards are full of dead bodies. The survived and wounded cannot leave Katyr-yurt, as they have no documents. Many people lost their passports during bombardments. Russian servicemen allow only women and children to live the village. This information is proved by TV reviews by Reuters company.
Two Chechen field commanders � Shamil Basaev and Bakha Arsanov � announced the �start of the total military operations in the entire Russia,� Ekho Moskvy radio station broadcasts. We do not know, whether this statement was agreed with he Chechen President Maskhadov.
In the night, Monday 7, field commanders stated over the TV channel Ichkeria that they had enough military and manpower resources to continue the war for another 50 years. However, taking into consideration the statement by the same TV channel, Maskhadov had issued the decree to draft officers in reserve and volunteers.
ASTANA, Feb 7
The Netherlands Parliament Lower House Speaker (you may learn his name in the Embassy) plans to come to Kazakhstan in the late June, 2000. The Ambassador of Netherlands to Kazakhstan Antonius Speekenbrink announced this at the meeting with the chairman of the Kazakhstani Parliament Oralbay Abdylarimov.
According to the diplomat, the Parliamentary election held in the autumn 1999 in Kazakhstan demonstrated that the republic �had made a significant step� towards the democratic development. �The legislative power as if gained a new face,� he said.
Abdylarimov said that the election by parties� lists for the first time introduced in Kazakhstan in 1999 had stirred up the Parliamentary activity and �did a lot for the democratic development�.
The Speaker reminded that the new government included representatives of four parties: the Civil Party, the Communist Party, Otan, and the Agricultural Party, as well as parliamentarians� groups and factions.
Abdylarimov believes that this process will further develop.
The Speaker also announced that the Kazakhstani Parliament was for �the equal cooperation� with the government. �The opposition of the Parliament and the government may result in the political crisis,� he emphasized.
At the same time he stated that the Parliament was to maintain the continuous connection with the electorate.
7 Feb (BBC)
Politicians are launching new efforts to salvage the Northern Ireland peace process after the bombing of a County Fermanagh hotel.
No-one was hurt in the attack, but it has heightened pressure on the British and Irish governments to press for decommissioning and halt the suspension of the power-sharing executive.
The bomb, thought to be the work of dissident paramilitaries the Continuity IRA, exploded at Mahon�s Hotel at about 1920 GMT on Sunday in Irvinestown, near Enniskillen.
The organisation is the only republican splinter group not observing a ceasefire.
Security sources estimate that the bomb contained between one and two kilograms of a �high explosive�, but the type of explosive used has not yet been identified.
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson said the attack was �not just wrong, it is against the democratically-expressed wishes of the people�.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said he �unequivocally condemned� the bombing.
Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon said the bombers were attempting to affect the peace process.
A human rights group has accused Nato of violating international human rights law during its air campaign over Kosovo last year.
New York-based Human Rights Watch has estimated that about 500 civilians were killed by Nato airstrikes. The report discounts Serbian government claims that the between 1,200 and 5,000 civilians were killed. Nato has said that it will study the report and a spokesman has repeated that the alliance tried scrupulously to avoid civilian casualties. The core of the report�s criticism is that Nato could have done more to minimise the number of non-combatants killed by its raids. This, Human Rights Watch argues, amounts to a violation of international human rights laws outlined in the Geneva Convention.
First independent investigation
The report is the first independent investigation into the civilian deaths caused by Nato.
Researchers went to 91 cities and towns and investigated 42 sites where civilians are believed to have been killed. About a third of the 90 bombing incidents occurred in Kosovo and several relating to air attacks against road convoys.
The report says that Nato pilots should have done more to identify targets properly, although it also points to evidence that in at least one case, Yugoslav forces used displaced civilians as human shields.
The report makes particular criticism of Nato�s use of cluster bombs near populated areas.
It asserts that after one particularly bad incident of cluster munitions going astray in Nis, the United States stopped using the bombs, but it says that British aircraft continued to do so.
Human Rights Watch also says that a small number of the targets chosen were not legitimate military locations - not least the Serb Radio and Television headquarters in Belgrade.
Nato has never given an estimate on the number of individual civilian deaths caused by its actions. But Pentagon spokesmen have previously conceded that there may have been what they term �collateral damage� in some 20 to 30 incidents. This is three times less than the estimate of incidents given by Human Rights Watch.
A Nato spokesman, Lee McClenny, repeated on Monday that the organisation deeply regretted the civilian casualties.
�I have to repeat that we took scrupulous care to avoid all possible civilian casualties,� Mr McClenny said.
The BBC�s defence correspondent, Jonathan Marcus says a definitive calculation of the full human cost of the air campaign is probably impossible.
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