Source Pravda.Ru

President Putin holds meeting with cabinet members

President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with cabinet members in the Kremlin on Monday.

Mr. Putin tasked Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov with reporting him on measures to improve the state defense order arrangements next week.

"Will you continue efforts to streamline state defense order arrangements and report them to me in a week," the president told Mr. Fradkov.

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said at the meeting that the unified logistics arrangements had produced an impressive economic effect.

"We are working to create a unified, interdepartmental system of logistics support for the country's armed forces," said Mr. Ivanov.

Seventeen contests have been held for the procurement of uniform food products.

"The economic effect of the uniform procurement system has proved to be rather impressive," said the minister.

Mr. Putin tasked the Interior Ministry, the Defense Ministry, and the Federal Security Service (FSB) with completing drafting documents on security measures in the areas that require security agencies' particular attention.

"I have amended the draft project. The job has to be completed," the president said. He also found it necessary to build up the interior forces by employing reputed Defense Ministry officers.

Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev reported on the progress of investigation into the June 22 terrorist attacks on Ingushetia, North Caucasus republic neighboring Chechnya.

"We will expose militants who were directly involved in the attacks on Ingushetia in the nearest future," said Mr. Nurgaliyev.

Over 20 suspects have been arrested since June 22. Investigators have secured evidence on who was involved in the attack and how it was perpetrated.

"We have nearly exposed the attackers," said the minister.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov touched on the Middle East problem. "The current crisis in Palestine is over the roadmap that has stalled over the security and financial reforms in Palestine," said Mr. Lavrov.

Mr. Lavrov noted that the "protracted deadlock" in the Mideastern settlement efforts was not conducive to peace progress.

Mr. Lavrov also updated the conferees on his visits to Italy and France. He said his Rome and Paris meetings had helped reach agreements to boost investment cooperation and cooperation in the hi tech sphere with an emphasis on aircraft manufacturing and space projects.

Besides, Italy and France pledged to secure a more prominent role of their business communities in economic cooperation with Russia. Jacque Chirac and Silvio Berlusconi promised to encourage their business people to step up contacts with Russia, according to Mr. Lavrov.

President Putin urged a balanced antidumping policy with respect to the Single Economic Space that was being established by Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

"Antidumping procedures should be balanced, and they must not hamper the process of establishing the Single Economic Space," said Mr. Putin.

Mr. Putin added that relevant decisions should be adopted after discussions with the partners.

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref reported the president and the government on the country's economic performance. GDP grew 7.8% in June against June last year and 0.6% compared to May 2004, according to Mr. Gref.

"Industrial output went up 9.2% compared to June last year, while its net growth rate compared to May 2004 was 0.8%. The accumulated growth of GDP and industry came at 7.4% this June compared to June last year," said Mr. Gref.

Machine building was the most briskly developing industry. Investments also continued rising.

However, the minister pointed to a certain decline in commodity turnover, which was due to banking sector fluctuations. Mr. Gref believes the situation will improve in the next 2 months. Besides, exports also dropped due to price changes on the world markets, metal prices in particular.

Mr. Gref believes raising the oil export duty to $69.2 per ton and the oil product duty to $45 per ton will allow to stabilize domestic prices. The government adopted the relevant decisions as the situation on the foreign oil market was rather favorable. The government thereby intends to stabilize the domestic market as oil prices have been growing dramatically here of late.

The government along with oil companies intends to work out "rules of the game for the long term," according to Mr. Gref.

They are expected to fix "long duties" on oil and oil products, which will allow companies to invest in their oil refineries, according to the minister.

The president told Mr Gref to hold a meeting with Sergei Abramov, Chechnya's acting President, next week.

"German Oskarovich, will you receive Chechen acting President Sergei Abramov next week to discuss economic issues?" requested Mr. Putin.