A cycle of armed confrontation caused the tragedy -- Akahata editorial, October 27 (excerpts)

The hostage-taking at a Moscow theater armed intruders calling for the independence of the Chechen Republic resulted in a tragic end with many captives killed by the Russian special forces.

Chechen's armed forces must be responsible for using terrorism and sacrificing many innocent citizens indiscriminately. They must be severely criticized by the international community.

They have repeated similar actions, and the latest incident revealed themselves to be a "terrorist organization." Such terrorist actions hampers the peaceful settlement of their independence, and undermines their original aim.

At the same time, we must notice that it is long years' military confrontation between Russia and Chechen that has caused such desperate acts.

Chechen achieved independence in 1991 after enduring the suppression during Stalin's days. Chechen's rejection of joining the Russian Federation and boycotting the relevant election brought about a military intervention by the Russian armed forces when a civil war broke out.

Since Vladimir Putin became the Russian president, armed actions have escalated on both sides.

Because the question of Chechen's independence bears many years of historic struggle, it is not appropriate either for Chechen's armed forces to use force in order to win Chechen's separation and independence at one stroke, or Russia to suppress it by resorting to arms. The question must be solved peacefully.

Terrorism by Chechen's armed forces and Putin's coercive policy of giving the military priority are blocking the way for the peaceful solution of the Chechen question.

Chechen's armed forces are primarily responsible for the tragic outcome of the theater incident, and the Putin administration, which enforces a military confrontation policy, must share the responsibility.

War cannot be eliminated by means of terrorism. Proof of this is in the developments in Afghanistan following the U.S. retaliatory war against the September 11 terrorist attacks. The latest incident in Moscow also suggests that the Chechen question can never be solved by military means.

The need now is for international society to urge both sides to stop military confrontation in order to open the way toward a peaceful solution of the issue. (end)