Azeri Chechen Leaders Call for Resumption of Karabakh War

BAKU–MOSCOW (Turan–Vremya)–Former Azeri president Abulfaz Elchibey and a former Chechen official–both–separately called for the resumption of the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh–saying it was the only way with which the conflict could be resolved. Speaking at a 10th anniversary celebration of the founding of the People’s Front of Azerbaijan Party Friday–Elchibey said it is possible to liberate the occupied territories "with the help of a gun."

Meanwhile–Movladi Udugov–former Chechen senior deputy premier and a member of the Shura–told a correspondent of Mediamax news agency that "Islamic units will probably refuse to wait for the war over Nagorno-Karabakh to be resumed. There are reports indicating their intention to launch a campaign to restore the Moslem territories of the Caucasus as early as 2000."

Udugov added–"Karabakh is not just a territory of Azerbaijan. It is a Moslem territory. Capturing and occupying 20 percent of the territory of a neighboring state is unprecedented–even in post-Soviet history. Peoples of the Caucasus–and Chechens in particular–are justifiably indignant."

The Chechen leader also said "Russia is in for serious problems and shocks in 2000," referring to Russia as Armenia’s partner and ally. Udugov did not rule out the possibility that Chechen commandos participate in the Karabakh hostilities if they begin again.

"I know that many Islamic units consider Karabakh the second most important issue after the liberation of Dagestan," Udugov said.

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