The Trilateral Commission on Inter-budget Relations, whose meeting tookplace in the House of Government today, approved in general the provisionsof the 2003 budget draft dealing with the relations between the budgets atdifferent levels. Additionally, the commission approved an earlier decisionto redistribute the revenues from the excise tax on fuel, so that 60% ofthe revenues would go to regional budgets, and 40% would go to the federalbudget. During the meeting it was decided to continue the discussion on measuresintended to compensate a number of regions for the losses arising from aredistribution of the revenues from the excise tax on tobacco. RussianDeputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko, who presided over the meeting,explained that there were not more than 10 such regions, and in fact, "thisis an exclusive problem." At the same time, some deputies, including DumaBudget Committee Deputy Chairman Mikhail Zadornov have suggested that thedistribution of the revenues from the excise tax on tobacco should bechanged, and a 50/50 ratio should be introduced. Nonetheless, this proposalwas not supported during the discussion, and members of the commissionapproved the decision to transfer all these revenues to the federal budget.Additionally, the commission decided to appeal to the State Duma of Russiato pass amendments to the housing law on the second reading before October15. The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for October 5. It is to beheld after the State Duma gives the 2003 budget draft its first reading onSeptember 25. .
According to a source in the Russian Defence Ministry, Russia started deploying elite commando units in eastern Libya. Russian GRU officers, mercenaries and advisors have arrived in Libya