Medvedev sets key tasks for new FSB chief Bortnikov

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Moscow, May 13 (UNI) President Dmitry Medvedev today during a meeting with the new head of Russia's Federal Security Service(FSB), Alexander Bortnikov set key tasks for the service.

''I am counting on Alexander Bortnikov to preserve the continuity of the service's best traditions and to continue the policy of qualitatively improving it,'' Mr Medvedev told staff at the FSB (former KGB) headquarters in the centre of Moscow.

Yesterday, Mr Medvedev appointed Mr Bortnikov as head of the FSB.

He said among other issues Mr Bortnikov would have to focus on counter-terrorism and extremism along with measures to curb ethnic and religious intolerance.

He added in a multi-confessional country such as Russia, attempts to undermine unity are considered a direct national threat.

''We have serious tasks ahead in the sphere of economic security, particularly the protection of the Russian economy from corrupt and criminal pressure and industrial espionage, and the strengthening of guarantees for entrepreneurship and private property,'' he said.

''A focus of the FSB's work remains the prevention of illegal activities on behalf of the foreign intelligence services,'' RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.

After congratulating Mr Bortnikov on his appointment, Mr Medvedev thanked the former FSB Chief Gen Nikolai Patrushev, for his work at the service.

''These were not the easy years, but he has achieved all set tasks honourably,'' he said.

Mr Medvedev also said he expected Mr Patrushev, in his new role as head of the Russian Security Council, to make decisions to strengthen the Armed Forces, and to step up measures against corruption and terrorism.

''I believe it would be right to pay close attention to the strengthening of our Armed Forces and law enforcement bodies, and to improve the fight against crime, corruption, terrorism and extremism,'' he noted.

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