Andrews Expresses Concern on Chechnya
Replying to a Dáil question the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. David Andrews T.D., said today that "the Government is very seriously concerned at the situation in Chechnya. The loss of civilian life and the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons fleeing the conflict zone is totally unacceptable."
"There have been numerous reports of Russian attacks on refugee convoys. Ireland and our European partners have made clear to the Russian authorities on several occasions, and at the highest level, our view that attacks on civilians and refugees are totally unacceptable", Minister Andrews said.
"The Government fully supports the views expressed to Foreign Minister Ivanov by Foreign Minister Halonen representing the Finnish Presidency of the European Union. Together with EU partners the Government is concerned to see an urgent political solution to the situation in Chechnya." The Minister said he intended to raise the issue at the European Union Council of Ministers in Brussels next Monday.
As Chairman in Office of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe the Minister has instructed Ireland's Ambassador to the Council to initiate urgent consultations with a view to establishing how best the Council of Europe could assist in efforts to safeguard human rights and promote democracy in Chechnya.