PRESS RELEASE 21st January 2005


MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HENRIK LAX:

"NO PEACE IN CHECHNYA WITHOUT INTERNATIONAL PEACE EFFORT"

It is becoming more and more evident that the long-lasting conflict in Chechnya will not be solved without an international peace effort. One alternative would be a peace effort lead by the European Union. Such an effort would apparently also include the deployment of peacekeeping forces in the region.

To achieve this, the Nordic countries should actively offer diplomatic support in order to undo the Caucasian knot. The confidence between Russia and the Chechnian people cannot be re-created without mediation from outside. Finland together with the other Nordic states should make an inventory of their most qualified and talented individuals who could make it possible to master a peace initiative alike the one the former president of Finland, Mr. Martti Ahtisaari carried out in Kosovo.

We in Europe have a lot of experience in solving ethnic and cultural conflicts, an experience which now is not at all in use to stop the war in Chechnya. Finland mustn’t either forget its good experience in easing clashes and tensions between its linguistic groups. This experience can add to our credibility in initiating a peace effort in Chechnya.

The Caucasian conflict is in its tenth year and it has caused the people tremendous suffering. Of course, it is not easy to find a solution in a conflict with roots dating more than 200 years back, but it is worrying that nobody is ready to tackle the question of how to come out of this meaningless killing. I hope Russia would be open-minded and welcome mediation from outside.

The Chechnian conflict has, according to some estimations, so far demanded about 80 000 lives.

More information will be given by the Member of the European Parliament Henrik Lax, tel +358 (0)50 553 5663