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|Thursday, September 27, 2001, updated at 08:29(GMT+8)|
US Urges Chechen Rebels to Break With TerrorismThe United States on Wednesday urged rebels in Russia's Chechnya province to break all ties with terrorist groups abroad.
"The Chechen leadership, like all responsible political leaders around the world, must immediately and unconditionally cut all contacts with international terrorist groups such as Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday urged Chechen rebel leaders to contact to his representatives in the region within 72 hours in order to discuss laying down their weapons.
The White House welcomed Putin's latest initiative for peace talks with Chechnya's rebels, saying only a political process can resolve the conflict in Chechnya.
"President Bush appreciated very much President Putin's offer of concrete cooperation in the common fight against international terrorism," Fleischer said.
"Respect for human rights and accountability for violations on all sides are crucial to a durable peace," Fleischer added.
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