Russian Defense Minister For Sharp Increase In Ministry's Financing

Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov has come out for a sharp increase in the ministry's financing. The minister delivered a report at a conference of the Russian defense ministry. The conference highlighting the vital problems of Russia's national security is being chaired by President Vladimir Putin. Sergei Ivanov briefed the conferees on the measures the ministry had taken to reform the armed forces. In August 2000, the minister recalled, the Security Council gathered for a session which determined major parameters and volumes of the armed forces' reform. According to him, the defense ministry has drafted 33 documents over this period, including short-term and long-term projects of building up the armed forces. At the same time, Ivanov noted, negative trends of the past years do not allow to further promote the reform. In his words, the 2001-2005 budget allocations for the defense ministry will permit only to stabilize the armed forces but not emerge them from crisis. The minister also urged to sharply increase the financial provision of the defense ministry and to subsequently systematize the received funds. Further, the conference continued behind closed doors and journalists were not allowed to stay for the main part of Ivanov's report. The conference of the defense ministry gathered deputy prime ministers Ilya Klebanov and Alexei Kudrin, director of the federal border service Konstantin Totsky, chief of Russia's general staff Anatoly Kvashnin, commanders in chief of the services and force commanders, and other military top brass.

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