PUTIN: GOVERNMENT'S DECISIONS MUST NOT WORSEN PEOPLE'S LIVING STANDARDS

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MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin has stated that the decisions, which the government takes, must not worsen the living standards of people.

The Russian leader said this on Wednesday at a traditional meeting with the members of the Cabinet of Ministers in the Kremlin.

The head of state noted that the government should not forget "either today or tomorrow or in the near future in general about housing construction." This also refers to housing for servicemen and affordable housing in general, Putin said.

"I hope that these issues will be elaborated the same way as the issues of social reform were elaborated," the President noted. "All the decisions must be elaborated in a way to ensure that the position of pensioners and persons entitled to benefits does not worsen."

As Putin further said, this week the government will discuss the issues of road construction, which have always been important for Russia. According to him, after the Cabinet of Ministers discusses this issue, it will be necessary to return to its discussion in terms of the priorities of the road construction development, some of which were identified by the previous government.

The President also told the Wednesday meeting with the Cabinet of Ministers in the Kremlin that at the end of this - the beginning of the next week he would hold a meeting on economic matters.

At the start of the Kremlin meeting, Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin assured those present that all the macro-economic parameters planned for this year, including inflation figures, would be complied with.

"We have enough instruments for that. I hope that we shall be able to comply with the forecast," the finance minister said.

During the Kremlin meeting the President instructed Russian interior minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to report regularly to him on preparations for the celebration of Victor Day (celebrated on May 9 in Russia), including the issues of security provision.

In particular, the President asked about how the May 1 events had passed.

"The events were held at a high organizational level; 96,000 servicemen of the Interior Ministry and interior troops provided security; special attention was paid to the North Caucasus region," the interior minister said.

According to him, no extraordinary events were registered. Rashid Nurgaliyev further said that one of the most serious public order violations had occurred on May 4, when some youth organizations staged a procession in Moscow in support of the legalization of light drugs. The procession was not authorized by the Moscow mayor's office. That is why, these organizations were subjected to administrative penalties, Nurgaliyev said.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov who spoke at the meeting reported to the President about his meetings in New York with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"We confirmed the importance of holding an international forum of Arab states to legitimize the process of the transfer of power in Iraq to the Iraqi people," Sergei Lavrov said.

"The interlocutors took our position into account," the foreign minister said.

Apart from that, Sergei Lavrov reported about his participation in the meeting of the mediators of the Middle Eastern settlement (the quartet comprising Russia, the USA, the EU and the UN).

"The settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is possible only on the basis of international law in line with the UN resolutions, including on the basis of the UN resolution initiated by Russia on the implementation of the roadmap plan. Unilateral steps for delimitation are possible also within the framework of the roadmap only," the Russian foreign minister said.

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