| A train loaded with
Russian military equipment pulled out of rebel
Chechnya November 30th as Moscow's last troops in
the war-torn region prepared to leave. Chechen
fighters cheered as the train, loaded with tanks
and other equipment, rumbled slowly out of the
Khankala base near Grozny and toward the Russian
heartland. "In 1994, Dzhokhar Dudayev said
the Russians would ask us for a corridor so they
could leave in safety, and now they are
leaving," said one smiling Chechen fighter.
Former leader of the breakaway republic, Dudayev
was killed in a Russian rocket attack in April
this year. Children standing near the side of the
tracks shouted the traditional Islamic battlecry,
"Allahu Akbar" as the train
took place only one week after Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Chechen interim
premier Aslan Maskhadov signed an accord on
relations between Russia and Chechnya. After the
signing, Chernomyrdin said "today we reached
the next stage of peaceful resolution of the
conflict and step-by-step we are advancing".
At that time, Chernomyrdin stated that an order
by President Boris Yeltsin to withdraw all
Russian troops from Chechnya - a key demand of
the Chechens - had been made "so that there
would be no speculation" on the issue.
The accord is planned to cover
relations between Moscow and Grozny up to the
January 27 elections in Chechnya, when the
current interim leadership, dominated by
independence figures, is expected tobe elected.