Chechen rebels are beasts, Putin tells Dutch
2 November 2005, AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Wednesday that he had an 'open dialogue' with Russian President Vladimir Putin about human rights and the situation in Chechnya.
2 November 2005
AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Wednesday that he had an 'open dialogue' with Russian President Vladimir Putin about human rights and the situation in Chechnya.
Balkenende told a joint press conference in The Hague that the concerns about human rights abuses by Russian forces in Chechnya could not be ignored. He discussed these concerns with Putin in an open fashion, he said. Putin responded by telling the media that Russia was fighting 'beasts' in Chechnya.
The Dutch and Russian leaders were talking to the press in the last hours of Putin's two-day visit to the Netherlands.
Putin said Russia had to deal with 'very violent people, beasts in the human form' and the measures taken by Russian troops had to be appropriate to the dangers.
"If we show a moment's weakest in the battle against terrorists, there will be a lot more victims," Putin said.
The Russian President acknowledged that it was necessary to use 'civilised methods' in the battle against terrorism. 'But we get can't tolerate that they are attacking the foundations of our democracy".
Putin expressed annoyance that European countries often criticise Russia's behaviour in Chechnya but have not paid much attention to the "major political events" in the country in recent years. He said Russia had invited Europe to send observers to come an see these developments, including a referendum on a new constitution and a presidential election, "but no one came".
Some European politicians appeared "to want to be a greater Muslim than Prophet Mohammed," the president said.
Later in the day the Netherlands and Russia signed an agreement to improve the cooperation between the government and business communities in the two countries. The Netherlands is particularly interested in increasing access to Russia's massive natural gas reserves.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news + President Vladimir Putin