Russian government to hold visiting session in Grozny

Representatives of the Russian Government and the Chechen republican leadership are to discuss measures to restore this North Caucasian autonomous republic in Grozny. It should be mentioned in this connection that the recently elected president Akhmad Kadyrov of Chechnya was assassinated on May 9, after a bomb exploded at Grozny's Dinamo stadium.

The Government's working group, due to confer with the republican leadership in Chechnya, is headed by acting Economic Development and Trade Minister Gherman Gref. "We must compile a three-year program for restoring the Chechen economy and social sector. This is our main task," Mr. Gref noted. The new program is to be implemented throughout the 2004-2006 period, Mr. Gref added.

A plan stipulating top-priority measures to restore the Chechen economy and social sector will be drafted in line with the visiting session's results. We are also going to chart top-priority tasks for the 2004-2005 period, Gherman Gref stressed.

We'll report to the President and the Prime Minister, after returning from Chechnya. Quite possibly, we'll draft instructions to the concerned ministries and departments," Mr. Gref noted. Looks like, specific financial parameters of the federal target program for restoring Chechnya might be revised, Gherman Gref went on to say. The existing target federal program leaves a lot to be desired, to put it mildly, Mr. Gref added. In his words, Chechen republican prime minister Sergei Abramov, who also serves as acting president of Chechnya (after the assassination of president Akhmad Kadyrov), and who is returning to Grozny together with Mr. Gref, shares this opinion.

We'll do some figuring and look around, Mr. Gref told RIA Novosti.

The federal target program stipulates annual budgetary appropriations to the tune of 3.5 billion roubles (One dollar costs 29 roubles) for restoring the Chechen republic over the 2004-2005 period.

Gherman Gref and most delegation members have never been to Chechnya before.

Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a brief visit to Grozny on May 11 the very next day after those killed in the May terrorist act were buried. Vladimir Putin met the relatives of deceased persons, expressing his deep condolences to them. Vladimir Putin also ordered his Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov to establish a working group and to send it to the Chechen republic for discussing various aid-related issues there. Vladimir Putin, who was quite saddened to see the "peaceful" city of Grozny still in ruins (despite all those tremendous federal-budget money being set aside for restoring the capital of Chechnya), suggested that the group be headed by Gherman Gref.

A large delegation comprising 35 people from 26 departments has left Moscow for the Chechen capital.

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