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Gorbachev calls for probe of seizure

HAMBURG -- Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev yesterday called for a ''clear and careful analysis" of last week's hostage drama at a school in southern Russia and argued that parliament should be involved in the investigation.

President Vladimir V. Putin has said his government will conduct an internal investigation into the attack in Beslan in North Ossetia. But he argued that a parliamentary probe could turn into a ''political show."

''The public expects a clear and careful analysis of this situation," Gorbachev told reporters in Hamburg, where he was attending a conference.

He added that it would be appropriate ''if this happens with the participation of parliament and the public."

Gorbachev, speaking through an interpreter, argued that the effort to free the hostages ''went as badly as it could have done."

Russian officials say 326 hostages were killed and 727 wounded after terrorists seized the school. The siege ended Friday in a wave of explosions and gunfire.

While Gorbachev advocated a public investigation of the hostage drama, the former Soviet leader rejected suggestions that Russia needed outside involvement to help end the conflict in Chechnya.

''Russia is capable of solving the problem there itself," he said.

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