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30.03.2003 12:17:00
Zakayev supports U.S.-British military operation in Iraq
MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - Akhmed Zakayev, the former Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov's envoy, has supported the U.S.-British military operation in Iraq.

   "The Saddam regime must be overthrown. The Chechen people associate Hussein with the evil for the Iraqis and for the rest of the Islamic world," Zakayev said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio on Sunday.

   "Hussein does not fit into any Islamic, or secular norms. Attempts to picture him as a hero or martyr are his supporters' mistake," Zakayev said.

   He condemned war as an evil that brings death to civilians, but said that Hussein had not left any other option for the international community.

   Zakayev's statement came as the first official confirmation of Maskhadov's support for the U.S. operation in Iraq, announced by the Chechen Press news agency in its release on Friday

   Meanwhile, prominent Chechen politicians condemned this position. Mufti Akhmed Shamayev assailed Maskhadov for supporting the U.S. operation in Iraq. "He is mad. He is no longer a Muslim and he has lost all humanness," Shamayev told Interfax on Friday.

   Head of the Chechen administration Akhmad Kadyrov also condemned Maskhadov's position. "Those who are trying to justify Bush's operation have mental problems and must undergo medical treatment," Kadyrov said.

   He said the Iraq war is being opposed by dozens of thousands of people in Muslim countries and elsewhere in the world.

   Zakayev is currently in London. The British authorities are considering his extradition to Russia. [RU EUROPE EEU EMRG POL PRO IQ US GB] sd <>

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