06MOSCOW8024, GOR REITERATES REQUIREMENTS FOR FOREIGNERS’ ACCESS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW8024 2006-07-27 12:25 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2765
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #8024/01 2081225
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 271225Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9586
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4874

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 008024 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/27/2016 
TAGS: PHUM PREL PREF EAID PGOV RS
SUBJECT: GOR REITERATES REQUIREMENTS FOR FOREIGNERS' ACCESS 
TO CHECHNYA 
 
REF: MOSCOW 6390 
 
Classified By: A/POL Colin Cleary.  Reasons 1.4 (b and d). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY: On June 2, Russian security forces issued 
revised requirements for foreign NGO workers, reporters, and 
diplomats seeking access to Chechnya.  While our contacts 
acknowledged that they raised the potential for tighter 
restrictions on NGOs working in the region, they reported 
that their operations were continuing normally for the 
moment.  With two exceptions, the new guidelines reiterate 
what have been standard operating procedures and clarify 
contradictory statements issued by federal and Chechen 
authorities. END SUMMARY. 
. 
MORE OF THE SAME 
---------------- 
 
2.  (C) The GOR issued revised requirements for NGOs and 
others working in Chechnya June 2.  Signed by Deputy Internal 
Affairs Minister Colonel-General Yedelev, the document 
contains slight changes to the procedures that have governed 
foreigners' access to Chechnya since 2001, when the UN and 
the GOR signed a letter of understanding on humanitarian aid 
distribution in Chechnya.  Generally, NGOs, UN expatriate 
staff, and other foreigners, including U.S. and other 
diplomats, seeking access to Chechnya must provide advance 
notice of their plans to the Military Commandant in Chechnya, 
who in turn coordinates these requests with the Federal 
Security Service (FSB), and the Chechen Administration. 
These requests must contain the names and other biographic 
information, license numbers of vehicles, and detailed 
itineraries of activities in the republic.  Previously, this 
information was only required for non-Russian citizens, but 
they now also apply to local staff of NGOs or other aid 
organizations.  Additionally, the new requirements extend the 
time period for advance notice to ten days from the previous 
five. 
 
3.  (C) Our UN and NGO contacts said the release of these 
requirements did not substantially change procedures already 
in place.  Steven Tull, head of the UN Office for 
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Russia (OCHA), told 
us OCHA had not had any recent complaints about access from 
NGOS working in the North Caucasus.  CARE Canada Country 
Director Frans Barnard, who occasionally overnights in 
Groznyy, said that the changes were workable; their effect 
would largely depend on how authorities' chose to enforce 
them.  Some of our contacts said the publication of the 
requirements would clarify conflicting statements by Chechen 
and Russian authorities during the spring over the 
possibility the marshrutniy list requirement would be 
eliminated. 
. 
MORE TO COME? 
------------- 
 
4.  (C) Contacts said that given past harassment of NGOs and 
oft-repeated rumors that the GOR wanted to remove them from 
the North Caucasus, there was always the potential that they 
might further tighten access to Chechnya.  GOR officials have 
created problems for NGOs in the past with seemingly 
arbitrary and capricious procedures for submitting access 
requests.  They have also occasionally denied access to 
individual NGOs or severely restricted access for others.  In 
May, for example, the GOR imposed restrictions on aid workers 
and other foreigners traveling in North Ossetia (reftel), 
which remain in place.  Earlier this month, federal 
servicemen repeatedly stopped a UN convoy in Chechnya, which 
included European humanitarian aid experts, and the UNHCR 
official in charge eventually decided to abandon the mission. 
 Tull said preliminary information suggested the problem had 
been caused by a newly arrived military commander, but the UN 
was still awaiting an official explanation.  CARE's Barnard 
said the GOR's re-registration of NGOs in October was an even 
greater worry for most NGOs at the moment. 
. 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5.  (C) GOR authorities and humanitarian organizations in the 
North Caucasus have never had an easy relationship, although 
our contacts recently told us their ability to work in 
Chechnya seemed to be getting better, not worse.  For now, 
that continues to be the case.  GOR attitudes toward the 
international presence in the North Caucasus have always been 
sensitive and contradictory, and its intentions hard to 
discern.  We cannot exclude the possibility that NGOs might 
have difficulty in the future.  We will continue to follow 
the issue closely. 
 
MOSCOW 00008024  002 OF 002 
 
 
BURNS

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