Chechens rebuff Yeltsin

The Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, said he planned a goodwill visit to Chechnya in January. But a Chechen official said an empty-handed trip could prompt the break-up of the entire Caucasus. Mr Yeltsin said his aim was to size up the economy, shattered during Russia's 21-month war against Chechnya, and erode separatist tendencies. "I will name only the month - January, though I know the exact day already." Mr Yeltsin said. "This will ... work against our separation." But the Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister, Movladi Udugov, said Chechnya wanted to see concrete results.

Reuters - Moscow