The President was optimistic on prospects for signing the new START treaty, saying that 95 percent of all the issues have been settled now.
Answering journalists’ questions, Mr Medvedev stated that the missile defence issue will be raised at Russian-American negotiations. “It is a crafty ploy to imagine we can discuss strategic nuclear forces without discussing missile defence. So long as there are nuclear missile launches, there are interceptor missile launches too,” the President said.
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The executive order Mr Medvedev signed last December on improving the Interior Ministry’s work is just the start of efforts to modernise the law enforcement system. The President noted that priority measures include staff cutbacks and pay rises, as well as the transfer of some powers to federal level.
This step is necessary in large part because of the high degree of merging between heads of law enforcement agencies in the regions, local interior ministry offices, and the regional authorities, Mr Medvedev said.
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On the subject of Alexander Khloponin, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the newly established North Caucasus Federal District, Dmitry Medvedev pointed out that his priority task will be to bring conditions for economic activity and social indicators in the Caucasus region at least up to the national average.
Specifically, this means ensuring a normal investment climate, carrying out various economic and social projects, and creating new jobs.
Control needs to be established over the way money is being spent, and this calls for an economic manager and not simply a strongman, Mr Medvedev said, mentioning he hopes the new presidential envoy’s work will start to produce results this year.