LETTERS : The people of Chechnya need moral support

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The Independent Online
From Lord Hylton Sir: What is the common thread between Nagornyy Karabakh, Abkhazia, Vukovar, Sarajevo, Dubrov nik, Bihac and now Chechnya? It seems to be a military onslaught on civilians, with bombing, rocketing and shelling of the defenceless, killingand wounding women and children and deliberately creating multitudes of refugees and displaced people. Such c

o nduct is inhuman, unEuropean and utterly unacceptable.

I welcome the moral lead now given by two religious leaders (in the Tablet, 24 December). The Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis II and Mufti Alsabekov of Chechnya said in a joint statement: We call on all people invested with power to do everything possible to prevent any increase in victims and suffering, and to renounce the use of weapons as a way of solving problems.

It is necessary to restore law and order using peaceful methods, based on mutual consent.

They called for negotiations and rejected the suggestion that the conflict would develop hostility between Christians and Muslims: True followers of both religions desire only peace. The use of symbols and concepts sacred for Christians and Muslims to provoke conflict is a sin (and is impermissible).

All who agree with this statement will, I hope, congratulate its authors and urge on the Government of the Russian Federation the traditional methods of conciliation, mediation, arbitration and conflict resolution.

Yours faithfully, HYLTON House of Lords London, SW1

1 January