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Chechnya counter-terrorism operation could be discussed in March


MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee could discuss ending the counter-terrorism operation in Chechnya on March 31, a source in a Russian security agency said on Thursday.

He confirmed that the committee has already received a proposal to end the operation, which has lasted for more than nine years.

"The question is nothing new, it has been on the agenda for a long time and concerns mainly organizational issues, in particular, the continuous deployment of Interior Ministry units there [Chechnya] and other security structures," the source said.

The National Antiterrorism Committee declined to comment on the information.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov told journalists on Wednesday that the federal counter-terrorism operation in the Russian North Caucasus republic would be officially completed in late March.

He added that Chechnya long ago completed the struggle against terrorism, although an official document on conducting a counterterrorist operation in the republic is still in force.

A Kremlin source dismissed the report, however, saying that the issue of ending the counter-terrorism campaign in the republic is being considered, but it was too early to talk of a deadline.

Chechnya was devastated by two military campaigns, in 1994-1996 and 1999-2001, after which Moscow significantly scaled down its military presence in the republic.

Although the "active phase" of counter-terrorist operations is over in Chechnya, the republic and neighboring regions are still plagued by raids on federal troops and pro-Kremlin police and authorities.

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