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    PUTIN MEETS SENIOR OFFICERS

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    MOSCOW, February 10th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russian President Vladimir Putin expects the army and law-enforcers to raise their efficiency.

    "We have done a lot to strengthen the military organisation and the country's law-enforcers. Therefore, we have the right to expect better quality work from them," the supreme commander said at a meeting with a group of senior officers in the Kremlin.

    "Priority is still assigned to national security, the fight against crime and terrorism, security of the country's borders and elimination of emergencies' aftermath," said Putin.

    "The solution to these tasks largely depends on the level of your preparedness and ability to act clearly and efficiently," said the head of state.

    "I expect the entire officer corps of Russia to realise their responsibility," said the supreme commander.

    Putin positively assessed the on-going process of the armed forces' modernisation and described the new personnel structure of the army and the fleet as the most optimal.

    "The tasks of recruiting contract servicemen to the permanent readiness units are being addressed, and new models of hardware provided," said Putin.

    However, in his opinion, "a lot still needs to be done to raise the professional training level of officers and soldiers," said the president.

    "I want to emphasise that this is an important component of military service. You should be extremely attentive to the personnel," Putin concluded.

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