Walter Schwimmer, general secretary of the Council of Europe, favors an increase in the number of Russians in the Council leadership, he told a news conference here. He said Russia was one of several countries whose role in the leadership is disproportionately small in view of its annual payments to the organization. Schwimmer said he has made correcting the situation one of his priority goals and that he is confident of success. He aims to increase the Russian presence 'in midlevel and top-level positions of the Council of Europe,' he said.
Summing up the results of his five years as the Council's general secretary, Schwimmer said Russia had doubled its presence in the leadership of the group in that time. Asked about Russia's payments to the Council, Schwimmer said the Council has an annual budget of euro 175 million, toward which Russia, like other large donor-states (Britain, France and Italy), voluntarily contributes 12.4%. At the same time, Schwimmer noted that Russia receives euro 6 million a year for direct Council projects as well as other funds.
Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems
Russia is to start supplying S-300 air defence systems to Syria in the near future. The shipments will be conducted free of charge