NEW PRIME MINISTER OF CHECHNYA HOLDS FIRST GOVERNMENT MEETING

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NEW PRIME MINISTER OF CHECHNYA HOLDS FIRST GOVERNMENT MEETING

Izvestia, February 12, 2003, p. 3 EV

Due to conduction of the first working session of the Cabinet under the chairmanship of new prime minister, Anatoly Popov, intense security measures to protect the complex of governmental buildings were taken in Grozny yesterday, Interfax said. The day before, Colonel Akhmed Dakayev, senior deputy interior minister of Chechnya explained that since February 10 the Chechen law enforcement agencies were taken to intense schedule of work in connection with the Kurban-bairam, the Moslem holiday. “taken to the intense schedule are: the traffic police, interior ministry departments around Chechnya. The settlements are patrolled round-the-clock,” Dakayev said. At the same time he stressed that no serious incidents are expected during the holiday, even though “the guerrillas have no holidays.”

AN-30 RECONNAISSANCE PLANE READY TO PHOTO BAGHDAD

Izvestia, February 12, 2003, p. 2 EV

At the Kubinka airfield in the Moscow region, the Air Force of Russia displayed abilities of An-30 reconnaissance planes to journalists yesterday. One of the aircraft, which has been used to reconnaissance in the Air Force since 1974, may be sent off to Iraq to assist the UN weapons inspectors in the near future. “The plane and the crew are ready; we are waiting for orders,” Alexander Drobyshevsky, a spokesperson for the Air Force of Russia said yesterday.

The demonstration flight held in Kubinka yesterday is a part of the crew training schedule; if the order received from the defense minister, the crews may be sent off to Iraq, where they will aid the UNMOVIC committee, which is trying to discover weapons of mass destruction in this country.

RUSSIA-TURKMENISTAN

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 12, 2003, EV

The intergovernmental agreement on supplying Turkmen gas to Russia will be signed in the immediate future, Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom told in Ashkhabad. He discussed issues of cooperation in the gas sphere, in particular an opportunity of purchasing and transportation of Turkmen natural gas by Russia, with President Saparmurat Niyazov.

GEORGIA

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 12, 2003, EV

The United States will support Georgia in its negotiations with Russia dedicated to withdrawal of the Russian military bases from the country, Stephen Geoffrey Rademaker, assistant state secretary said at the briefing after meeting with President Eduard Shevardnadze.

He emphasized that in the opinion of the US, Russia should obligatorily perform the commitments assumed at the Istanbul summit of OSCE. In his words, the issue of using the Vaziani airfield in case the military operations against Iraq are launched wasn’t discussed at the meeting with President Eduard Shevardnadze.

CLOSED MEETINGS

Trud, February 12, 2003, EV

Chairman of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov has met with heads of parliaments of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia in Kislovodsk. The speaker said that similar meetings are closed. “We have agreed to make no comments both before and after the meetings,” he stressed.

Evidently, the most pressing issues of the “Caucasus knot” have been discussed. Thus, in the opinion of Nino Burjanadze, the speaker of the Georgian parliament, the supreme Russian authorities don’t possess the complete information related to Georgia’s position and there’s a chance to deliver the current problems via Mironov. Speaker of the Federation Council promised to do that on his return to Moscow.

Over the course of his tour around the Krasnodar and Stavropol territories, S. Mironov was resolving the purely Russian problems as well. “The Federation Council should be working to create equal suffrage for all citizens of the country, no matter where they reside,” he said meeting with local deputies. However, it is rather hard to settle this problem in federal subjects with complicated social-political situation, without normal interregional cooperation.

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