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Friday, November 19, 1999 Published at 21:35 GMT

World: Europe

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

The head of the United Nations refugee agency, Sadako Ogata, has appealed to Russia to improve security for aid workers who are helping the thousands of refugees who have fled the fighting in Chechnya.

Speaking in Moscow after visiting the North Caucasus, Mrs Ogata said that while the UNHCR was anxious to send more staff to the region, kidnapping by armed gangs was still keeping many aid workers away.

In another development, an official of the Chechen government now in exile in Ingushetia, said the rebels were withdrawing in face of the Russian offensive.

But he warned that the rebels would fight a guerrilla war until the last of the Russians had left.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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