Moscow protests Chechen congress in Poland

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Russia's new ambassador to Poland on Tuesday warned that a congress by Chechen separatists that will be held in Warsaw later this week was an "extremely dangerous affair".

"The Russian Federation is leading a difficult struggle against terrorism," Alexander Alekseyev told reporters, adding that Moscow's position regarding the meeting was "extremely negative".

"We consider the organisation of this type of congress as an extremely dangerous affair," he said.

Some 250 to 300 people have been invited to the two-day meeting, organised by the World Chechen Congress from Thursday, Islambek Kekharsayev, the representative in Poland of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria -- the unrecognised secessionist government of Chechnya -- told AFP Thursday.

Chechen independence icon Akhmed Zakayev, who is wanted by Moscow on terrorism charges, was also invited, Kekharsayev said.

Alekseyev said Moscow would demand Zakayev's extradition to Russia, should he arrive in Poland.

"There are people for whom we have extradition requests, including Zakayev," Alekseyev said.

"There is irrefutable information on this man that he participated in terrorist activities," the ambassador added.

"As soon as we know that a man wanted by Russian prosecutors on criminal allegations including terrorism is in a country, we address ourselves to the authorities of this state demanding their extradition," he said.

In the wake of wars during the 1990s and after 2000, which widely destroyed Chechnya, Russia is fighting a radical Islamist-fuelled insurgency in the North Caucasus regions of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia that has claimed scores of lives.

© 2010 AFP

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