ACPC Press Release April 16, 2003

ACPC Welcomes Akhmadov Asylum Decision

The American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC) today welcomed news that Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the opposition government in Chechnya, has officially been granted permanent political asylum status in the United States.

In a strongly-worded decision, a Boston immigration court granted Akhmadov asylum in April of this year. An appeal of that decision has now been withdrawn and the grant of asylum is now final.

"The fact that the US government did not oppose the immigration decision, which had rejected unsubstantiated allegations by the Russian government, is a strong affirmation of the long held position of the opposition government that a peaceful solution is in the best interests of all parties in this long-standing dispute," said ACPC Executive Director Glen Howard.

Recently named a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Mr. Akhmadov plans to move to Washington DC, where he will continue to campaign for a peaceful resolution to the war in Chechnya in his capacity as foreign minister.

"The grant of asylum and the award of the NED fellowship should be helpful in the peaceful settlement of the tragic Russian violence against Chechnya," commented ACPC Chairman Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Mr. Akhmadov was named foreign minister in the opposition government on the eve of the second Russo-Chechen war in 1999. Since that time, Akhmadov has been an outspoken advocate of a political solution to the conflict, calling on both Russia and the West to engage in a dialogue for peace. He is the author of internationally recognized peace plan which calls for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force that would pacify the region and set the foundation for eventual elections.

"Mr. Akhmadov has long been a champion of peace and democracy in Chechnya, and it is only fitting that he has finally been granted permanent status in the United States," Howard concluded. "The decision to retract the appeal is encouraging to all those who hope for peace and stability in that war-torn nation."

Founded in 1999, the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC) is a bipartisan coalition of distinguished Americans dedicated to promoting a peaceful end to the war in Chechnya.