MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Russia's foreign
minister has accused Western countries of displaying double standards
by granting asylum to Chechen separatist figures.
Lavrov's comments in Russian newspapers and radio and TV broadcasts
reflect Russian anger over what Moscow sees as the West's receptiveness
to the rebels.
Chechnya's separatist militants are
for a string of recent terrorist attacks in Russia, including the
deadly siege at a school in Beslan.
Akhmed Zakayev, who was
year granted political
asylum in the UK, is one of those that Moscow's
foreign ministry would like to be extradited.
Zakayev, an envoy for Chechen
separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov,
successfully fought off a previous extradition attempt in November last
year, when a judge ruled
there was a "substantial risk" that he would
be tortured if returned to Russia. <<Terrible - torture a
The former actor served as deputy
prime minister of Chechnya following elections in 1997.
is wanted by Moscow to face charges ranging from murder and torture to
grievous bodily harm allegedly committed in Chechnya between 1995 and
Russian authorities have also accused him of involvement in
the 2002 Moscow theater siege.
The UK Home Office refused to
comment on whether it had received an extradition request from Moscow.
"We don't confirm or deny
extradition requests," a spokesman told the UK Press Association.
is reported to be planning to meet Thursday with Rudolph Giuliani, who
was mayor of New York City when the September 11, 2001 attacks took
The Kremlin was angered when the U. S. granted asylum to
Ilyas Akhmadov, who was foreign minister under Maskhadov
Chechnya's de-facto independence in the late 1990s.
asylum to people involved in terrorism -- and Russia has documented
evidence of this -- not only causes us regret but also
undermines the unity of the anti-terrorist coalition,"
quoted as saying in Thursday's edition of the newspaper Vremya
"We are far from accusing the leaders of major countries . . . of deliberately preserving this double standard," he said. "But the inertia is still very strong. "
In comments on the Golos Rossii
radio station, Lavrov
criticized calls from other countries for Russia
to seek negotiations with the rebels or for international
"The situation in the Chechen republic is an internal affair of Russia," Lavrov said, saying such calls "cannot be seen as anything other than attempts to capitalize on tragedy. "
The militants took about
1,200 hostages in the 48-hour siege at the school that ended with the
deaths of at least 335 hostages, mostly children.
security official Yuri
Baluyevski said Wednesday the country was
prepared to take preemptive strikes against terrorist bases in the
region in response to the massacre.
Russia's FSB intelligence service is offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of two Chechen rebel leaders -- Shamil Basayev or Aslan Maskhadov.