>KOMMERSANT, FEB.28, 2005
>Soldiers' Mothers Enter Into Amicable Agreement with Akhmed Zakaev
>Delegation of the Union of Soldiers' Mothers Committee came back to
>Moscow from London Sunday. In London, the soldiers' mothers sealed a
>memorandum with Akhmed Zakaev, spokesman of Ichkeria's leader Aslan
>Maskhadov, stating that, for both parties, there could be no victory
>but peace. "Such statements make no sense, as the Arab hirelings, not
>the militants are exerting real influence in the republic," Chechen
>authorities claim. The RF Foreign Ministry thinks "the bandits
>operating in Chechnya will hardly abandon terror methods."
>London trip of four representatives of the Soldiers' Mothers Committee
>led to the memorandum titled `A Route to Peace in Chechnya.' Apart
>from the soldiers' mothers, the document was sealed by Akhmed Zakaev
>and representatives of the European Parliament. "The mere title of the
>document says we have started breaking deadlock," Valentina Melnikova,
>chairman of the Union of Soldiers' Mothers Committee told Kommersant.
>"First off all, Chechen party is ready to get into the fight against
>terrorism; secondly, the necessity for ceasefire has been announced;
>and thirdly, Akhmed Zakaev has suggested getting down to
>de-militarization and economic reconstruction in Chechnya."
>However, in Russia, not everyone appears to share such optimism. "One
>cannot ban soldiers' mothers from meeting whoever they think they need
>[to meet]," Vladimir Katrenko, head of the State Duma's Committee on
>the North Caucasus Problems told Kommersant. "But I am sure these
>negotiations won't yield real results, as Akhmed Zakaev represents no
>official authorities and has no power to decide on anything." Taus
>Jabrailov, chairman of Chechnya's State Council, is certain the
>aforesaid meeting "won't influence the situation in Chechnya."
>"Neither Zakaev himself, nor his joint decision with the
>representatives of the committee will have any effect on Basaev,"
>Jabrailov said. "It is just another PR-campaign of Ichkeria's
>leaders." The real power is with "the Arab hirelings" and no talks
>with the militants make any sense, Jabrailov said.
>Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also skeptical. "The attempt of
>the Union of Soldiers' Mothers Committee to take every chance to
>prevent new acts of terror and hostage taking in the Caucasus is
>understandable," the ministry said. "But it is hard to count on any
>definite results of the meeting; the bandits operating in Chechnya
>will hardly abandon terror methods."
>As to Akhmed Zakaev, he is sure such casual reaction of Russian
>government towards the meeting is tied to the similar treatment of
>Chechen problem. "The responsibility for the armistice destiny wholly
>rests with the Russian authorities," Zakaev said. "The levers of
>exerting influence on authorities are with the Russian society. We
>have manifested readiness for peace and it is the core outcome of the
>meeting with soldiers' mothers."
>The soldiers' mothers are going to report results to the Russia's
>authorities in the near term.
>Russian Article as of Feb. 28, 2005