Angelina Pleads with Russian Government

08/25/2003 at 01:00 PM EDT

Ah-nold isn't the only movie star to get political these days. Angelina Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, ended an emotional four-day visit to Russia by making a personal plea to the Russian government not to force thousands of Chechen refugees in Ingushetia back to their war-ravaged homeland, Reuters reports.

The mercurial actress -- who once famously wore a vial of then-husband Billy Bob Thornton's blood around her neck (he wore hers as well) -- sat down with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov on Thursday to discuss her concerns about the 80,000 Chechens under pressure from Moscow to return home for a local leadership election.

"We had a long conversation about what the options were... and I was happy to hear him say (the refugees) would not be forced back," Jolie told Moscow reporters.

"Voluntary repatriation is only if you've given people an option of housing and safety and you don't take away their food or shelter," the "Tomb Raider" star said during a news conference Sunday. "You give them an option and ask if they want to return home. I am asking you today to make sure they have that option."

Jolie also asked for the release of a Dutch aid worker kidnapped in Dagestan, east of Chechnya, a year ago. "I urge the people who are holding him to let him go immediately and return him unharmed to his family and friends," she said.

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