The State Department has condemned the apparent terrorist attacks in Chechnya's capital, Grozny, with Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing U.S. condolences in a telephone call to Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

Aides say Mr. Powell expressed U.S. condolences to families of the victims of the explosions in Grozny, and also urged Moscow to accept an extension of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's observer mission in Chechnya, whose mandate expires next week.

Briefing reporters, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said the United States strongly condemns Friday's apparent act of terrorism, while reiterating the U.S. view that there can be no military solution to the Chechen problem.

"A political solution is critical to the efforts to bring a lasting peace to the region, and we call on Chechen leaders to firmly and unequivocally renounce terrorist acts in word and deed, and cut their ties to terrorist groups and with those Chechens affiliated with terrorist groups," Mr. Reeker said.

The Bush administration said two months ago it was reviewing whether to include some Chechen separatist groups on U.S. terrorism lists, but no decisions have been announced.