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Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 28, 2003

Terrorist Designation Under Executive Order 13224 Islamic International Brigade, Special Purpose Islamic Regiment, and Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on February 14 designated three Chechen organizations -- the Islamic International Brigade, the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment, and the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs -- as terrorist groups under the Executive Order on terrorist financing.

The Islamic International Brigade, the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment, and the Riyadus-Salikhin Battalion are violent groups responsible for committing numerous acts of terrorism in Russia, including hostage-taking and assassination, that have threatened the safety of U.S. citizens and U.S. national security or foreign policy interests. All three groups were directly involved in the seizure of over 800 hostages at Moscow's Dubrovka Theater last October, an incident that resulted in the deaths of 129 hostages, including one U.S. citizen.

In making this designation, the United States calls on all Chechen leaders to renounce terrorist acts and cut any ties they may have to these terrorist groups and all who are affiliated with them. And we recognize that there are terrorist elements among those fighting Russian forces in Chechnya. At the same time, we do not consider all Chechen fighters to be terrorists.

It remains our position that the broader conflict in Chechnya cannot be resolved militarily and requires a political solution. We have made this point repeatedly to the Russians. We urge Russia to pursue a political settlement and to establish meaningful accountability for human rights violations by its armed forces in Chechnya. We also condemn acts of terrorism and other abuses committed by armed Chechen groups.

The United States also underscores its strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, a partner in the war on terrorism. We urge Russia to respect Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity while continuing to cooperate with Georgia and the United States on the issue of Chechen fighters and international terrorists in the Pankisi Gorge.

Executive Order 13224 blocks assets of these groups that are in the United States or held by U.S. persons, wherever located. Among other things, it further has the effect of prohibiting any U.S. persons from making or receiving any contribution of funds, goods, or services for the benefit of these groups. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today added the names of these three groups to its website as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs). Section 1(b) of the Order, as amended, authorizes the Secretary of State to designate foreign entities and individuals that he determines -- in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security -- to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.

Because these three groups are linked to Al-Qaida, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China and Spain have requested today that the United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee include the groups on its consolidated list pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions 1267, 1390 and 1455. France has also indicated it will join the designation. This would be the first time that all five permanent members of the Security Council have joined in submitting names to the 1267 Committee. All UN Member States are obligated to impose arms and travel sanctions on, and to freeze without delay assets of, any individual or entity on the consolidated list, and to prohibit their nationals or persons in their territories from making available any funds or other resources to such entities.

Released on February 28, 2003

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