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                      Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Jackson Hole, Wyoming)
For Immediate Release                                    August 13, 1996


Situation in Chechnya

The United States is greatly concerned about the continuing hostilities in Chechnya. The renewed fighting in Grozny threatens to prolong the conflict and bring greater misery to the civilians of Chechnya. The cycle of violence must end.

The United States welcomes the contacts this weekend between Russian Security Council Secretary Lebed and Chechen rebel force Chief of Staff Maskhadov and today's reports of the possibility of a ceasefire. We strongly urge the Russian and Chechen sides to halt the fighting immediately and to find a durable settlement. Meetings between the Russian and Chechen sides in late May and early June created an opportunity for peace. Now both sides must seize that opportunity and bring an end to the bloodshed once and for all.

The United States continues to support fully the efforts of the OSCE mission in Grozny to facilitate negotiations. We stand ready to do what we can to promote peace in Chechnya.

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