Laden, Mullah Omar calling shots in Kashmir, Chechnya: Putin
10 November 2002
The Times of India
Moscow: Rejecting the European demands for a political dialogue with the Chechen rebels, Russia President Vladimir Putin has said Osama bin Laden, Taliban supremo Mullah Omar and their like-minded are calling shots in Kashmir, West Asia, Chechnya and elsewhere in the world. ''These guys kill hundreds and thousands of innocent people, not just for their pleasure, but they make political demands also. They are putting their demands before the US, also before the European and Arab states, demands concerning the Middle East and also Kashmir, and in our case it is Chechnya,'' Putin pointed in a statement at a Kremlin meeting with pro-Moscow Chechen political, business and religious leaders. ''To those who thoughtlessly or deliberately, out of fear of the bandits or following the lingering European tradition of appeasement, will further continue to urge us to sit down at the negotiating table with the killers, I suggest that they should enter in to talks with bin Laden or Mullah Omar,'' Putin said. He cautioned that any body at home or abroad urging for talks with the self-styled Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov would be seen by the Kremlin as ''an accomplice of terrorists''. Putin gave this statement on Sunday ahead of his Brussels visit for Russia-EU summit, where Maskhadov is projected as the only legitimate negotiations partner for Moscow in Chechnya peace talks.