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Russian Official Balks At U.N. Intervention

A top Russian official rejected a call by Chechnya’s rebel leader Wednesday for U.N. intervention to end fighting in the breakaway republic.

Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailov told the ITAR-Tass news agency that the Chechen war is an internal affair that “will be resolved in keeping with the Russian constitution.”

On Tuesday, rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev called for U.N. participation in peace talks with Moscow and asked that the United Nations deploy peacekeepers in Chechnya.

Talks on fulfilling cease-fire and other accords - signed in May and June - were abruptly canceled Wednesday when separatists failed to attend.

Tim Guldimann, head of the Chechnya mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters in Moscow that the meeting was postponed “for technical reasons” and would take place soon.

He said rebels decided to delay the meeting because they got details about it only Wednesday morning.

But the Interfax news agency, quoting sources in the Chechen command, said Maskhadov decided not to attend because the Russians made a last-minute change in delegates to the talks.

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