AFP/Yahoo 'reports' below.
So, uh, Putin is a war criminal, w/ a "vision?"
Last sentence failed to say that Putin should
French FM says "open war" still raging in Russia's Chechnya
MOSCOW (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin contradicted the official Kremlin line that the Chechen war was over and won but reaffirmed France's desire to work with Moscow to create a "new international order."
"Chechnya is in a state of open war, with its daily quota of dramas and its risks of destabilisation for neighbouring countries, from Turkey to Iran," de Villepin said, addressing a group of students in Moscow where he also met his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov.
Moscow has consistently referred to the fighting in Chechnya, where it poured in troops to put down a separatist insurgency in October 1999, as an "anti-terrorist operation" and not a war, and has for several months insisted that the situation in the southern republic has been "normalized."
De Villepin noted that "terrorism must be condemned and fought with the greatest firmness, and Russia's territorial integrity respected, but there cannot be a durable solution on the sole basis of a security strategy."
Answering questions alongside Ivanov after their talks, de Villepin said that "everything must be done to find a solution, (but) there can be no security-based solution in any crisis."His comments on Chechnya were the strongest by a French official for at least two years.
While praising Russia's "original vision of the world" and its "vocation of becoming a major pillar of the new world order," he also stressed the "urgent need of a solution that will put an end to the years of suffering" in Chechnya.
Ivanov for his part insisted that there was "no war in Chechnya, but a struggle against international terrorism."
Russian troops, which flooded into Chechnya in October 1999 to put down a separatist insurgency, have frequently been accused of human rights abuses.
De Villepin noted that France and Russia hoped "to work together to create a new international order."
His comment was echoed by Ivanov who said the two countries were "working to create a new world order."
The foreign ministers agreed there had been a "major rapprochement" between Paris and Moscow in recent years, and highlighted their similarity of views on such issues as Iraq and the Middle East.
De Villepin separately called for the European and Russia to establish a "strategic partnership," with in particular the creation of a "permanent institutional mechanism" that would "analyze threats that the European continent faces, particularly with regard to proliferation and terrorism."
"It would be natural for the European Union to develop consultative institutions along the lines of what was set up with NATO," the Atlantic defence alliance, he said.
De Villepin said France was prepared to "consider with its European partners working more closely with Russia in the fields of foreign policy and European defence."
This would include "considering joint operations in peacekeeping," he noted.
Referring to Iraq, where France along with Russia and Germany formed an anti-war alliance, de Villepin said Paris and Moscow should "go further in cooperating in the handling of regional crises."
In particular "we should seek progress with our plan for an international conference on re-establishing Iraq in its region," he said.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he called for the "quartet" -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, the main sponsors of a peace agenda known as the "road map" -- to take action to "break the deadlock."
The French envoy also called on Russia to ratify the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions -- an unlikely prospect -- enabling the treaty to come into force, and to sign up for the international criminal court.