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The  European Union recalls  its declaration of  17 January  and continues to
follow developments in Chechnya with great  concern.  It deplores the serious
violations  of  human  rights and  international  humanitarian law  which are
still occurring  there.  It calls for an immediate  cessation of the fighting
and  for the  opening of negotiations  to allow  a political  solution to the
conflict to be found.  It demands that  freedom of access to Chechnya and the
proper convoying of humanitarian aid to the population be guaranteed.

The European Union places its  action in the framework of the  implementation
of  the  principles  and  provisions  of the  OSCE,  in  compliance  with the
sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia.

In this  context the European Union notes the agreement  given by the Russian
Federation to the sending of an OSCE delegation,  to include a representative
of the European Union Presidency, to the region affected  by the crisis.  The
European Union hopes  that this delegation will be  given all the appropriate
means  of carrying  out  its  mission, including  the  possibility of  moving
within Chechnya, and that it will be able to go  there as soon as possible to
help  the  OSCE  find  a  solution  to  the  crisis.    This  mission  should
concentrate its  efforts particularly  on questions  involving human  rights,
the  restoration  of  constitutional  order  and  preparations,  as  soon  as
possible, for free and fair elections in Chechnya.

The European Union  will decide on further stages in  its action in the light
of the outcome of this mission.

It  accordingly  reiterates its  readiness  to make  use of  the arrangements
available under the OSCE human  dimension mechanism, as well as  the relevant
articles of the code of conduct adopted at the Budapest Summit.

The European Union, which  attaches importance  to its relations with  Russia
and to  the continuation of the democratic reform process in that country, is
concerned at  the possible  consequences of the  crisis.  It  would point out
that these relations  must be based  on the shared principles  of the  United
Nations and the OSCE, as confirmed in the Partnership Agreement.

The  European Union will  remain vigilant and reserves  the right to consider
other options.

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