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    FRADKOV LAYS OUT HIS PRIORITY

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    MOSCOW, March 5, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - If appointed prime minister, Mikhail Fradkov intends to promote higher living standards for people.

    "The priority task the government will be faced with is to raise living standards, reduce poverty, and improve the welfare and security of Russians," Mr. Fradkov said when speaking in the Duma on Friday. The State Duma is currently considering his candidacy for the premiership.

    "The previous government also tackled these issues but now this process needs to be accelerated, and the work of the cabinet improved," said Fradkov.

    He remarked that the government would step up efforts to attain economic stability and conduct structural reforms in the cabinet. "Our main task is to raise competitiveness in the commodity and services, and business spheres," said Mr. Fradkov.

    In his words, his program is based on raising the efficiency of the government, i.e. the goals and tasks the president outlined at his meeting with his authorized representatives on February 12.

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