- Sarah Palin to campaign for Senate candidate Ben Sasse in Nebraska
- Boise business entices customers to come break stuff — ‘recreational destruction’
- Fired Yahoo exec’s $60 million golden parachute may be a record
- Arkansas gynecologist snapped nude photos of patients, police say
- Anthony Weiner on his current sexting habits: ‘None of your business’
- Producers eye Capitol Hill for latest reality TV hit
- No selfie awareness: Obama, Biden mug for Instagram as Ukraine implodes
- Putin to Snowden: We don’t collect droves of data on everyone like the U.S.
- Clemson football’s new opponent: Atheists upset with player prayer, Bible study
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s re-election launch party will be ‘history in the making,’ brother says
Asylum decision by U.S. fuels ire
MOSCOW (Agence France-Presse) — Russia reacted with fury yesterday to a U.S. decision granting political asylum to the self-declared foreign minister of separatist Chechnya who is viewed as a “terrorist” by Moscow.
Moscow accused Washington of setting double standards in its global war on terror, in a comment straining relations between two Cold War era foes that had warmed after the September 11 attacks on the United States but have had increasingly frequent chilly spells in recent months.
Ilias Akhmadov, foreign minister in the self-styled but unrecognized government of Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov, said that he was informed this week that he has been officially granted political asylum by authorities in Boston.
He had been granted asylum earlier this year but the U.S. office of homeland security challenged the decision. Mr. Akhmadov said the appeal has since been withdrawn and he is now staying in the United States.
“I learned [on Monday] that they had granted it to me,” Mr. Akhmadov said by telephone from the United States.
Russia, which accuses Mr. Akhmadov of terrorism and of links to an armed incursion in the Russian republic of Dagestan in 1999, has been seeking his extradition since he arrived in the United States in 2002.
“I am happy to have succeeded in convincing the American authorities that the accusations were unfounded,” Mr. Akhmadov said.
A U.S. official in Moscow refused to confirm that Mr. Akhmadov was in the United States but said granting him asylum should not reflect on Washington’s relations with Moscow.
“The U.S. government is not allowed to interfere on decisions on asylum cases,” the U.S. Embassy official said. “No decision on asylum should be misinterpreted as a statement of foreign policy.”
The foreign ministry said the decision showed that Washington was “setting double standards in the fight against terrorism.”
“These sort of actions contradict the spirit of Russia-U.S. relations and do not correspond our joint goals of fighting international terrorism,” it said in a statement.
It said Moscow has “repeatedly asked the United States to extradite this international terrorist … but unfortunately we must note that our requests were ignored.”
Mr. Maskhadov was a top field commander in the first Chechen war from 1994-1996 and won the presidency the next year after Russian troops pulled out and gave the Muslim republic in the Caucasus region de facto independence.
But he was quickly disavowed by Moscow, which poured troops back into the impoverished region in October 1999 to fight what was to be a lightning anti-terror operation but has instead descended into drawn-out guerrilla war.
The former Chechen president has been in hiding since then, with various reports suggesting he was either in Chechnya’s southern mountains — still under rebel control — or a neighboring Muslim state.
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.