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    CHECHNYA'S NEW PM APPOINTED

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    GROZNY, March 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov introduced new Prime Minister Sergei Abramov to the republic's government on Thursday.

    According to Mr. Kadyrov, several candidacies to this post were nominated but Mr. Abramov was chosen, as he is well known in Chechnya. Mr. Abramov has already been finance minister of the republic.

    The Prime Minister promised to the Chechen president that he would present the plan of Chechnya's socio-economic development for five years, within the next five months. He noted that by then the Chechen government, not the federal centre, would oversee the restoration of the republic devastated by the civil war.

    Mr. Kadyrov pointed out that Chechnya needed its own oil extracting and processing company. Head of the Grozneftegaz association Baudi Khamidov said that the republic was extracting 5,320 tons of oil daily. When asked whether a Rosneft subsidiary in Chechnya was profitable enough, Mr. Khamidov suggested that a holding be set up within Rosneft, and not an independent company as Mr. Kadyrov is proposing.

    The Chechen president instructed the newly appointed prime minister to draw up proposals on the score.

    Eli Isayev, until recently acting prime minister, reported that 2,700 refugees were staying in refugee camps in Ingushetia. Last year, there were over 7,000 of them. Chechen refugees who have returned home have been either provided with temporary accommodation or are living in dwelling areas.

    Chechen Interior Minister Alu Alkhanov said that the number of kidnappings had been reduced from 69 to 19 as compared to last year. There are about 3,000 missing people in the republic today.

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