ON MILITARY REFORMS
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, April 22, 2003, EV
Units of the Internal Troops, Federal Border Guards Service, and the Armed Forces quartered in the Caucasus part of Russia and nearby areas will begin transition to service by contract in 2004 – 2005.
BORIS GRYZLOV THREATENS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
Izvestia, April 22, 2003, p. 3, EV
On a working trip to the Far East federal region yesterday, Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said that stiff sanctions up to expulsion from the Russian Federation would be used against foreigners without immigration cards.
EUROPEAN UNION WILL BECOME KINDER
Izvestia, April 22, 2003, p. 2, EV
Problems in the relations between the European Union and Russia will become fewer when chairmanship in the European Union shifts to Italy. Prime Minister of Italy Sylvio Berlusconi promised his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kasianov to waste no time in coming up with the concept of a common economic zone for Russia and the European Union and personally monitor the work on a visa-free regime for Russians intent on visiting Europe. Italian businessmen urged Kasianov to stand true and resist demands of the European Commission to up internal gas prices.
Kasianov completed his visit to Italy. Italy and Berlusconi’s coming chairmanship in the European Union was the central subject on the agenda. Kasianov once again reiterated Moscow’s belief that the leading role in post-war restoration of Iraq should be played by the United Nations. “Existing contracts should be honored, debts paid,” Kasianov said. The premier of Russia refused to talk about chalking off of the Iraqi debts to Russia. “We are ready to strive within the framework of the international cooperation mechanisms,” he said.