Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov Wednesday to identify some of the most important tasks for the ministry to cope with. According to presidential press secretary Alexei Gromov, Putin wants the Foreign Ministry's activity to be aimed at preserving strategic stability in the world, expanding international cooperation to meet new global challenges, and consolidating the country's reputation as a reliable and predictable partner. In this context, the President gave the Foreign Minister specific instructions to deal with some of the major international problems, in particular ones related to the START and the ABM treaties, and to the settlement of regional conflicts, said Gromov. Ivanov summed up for Putin the results of the Russian Foreign Ministry's activity in 2001. The Russian President gave a positive appraisal of yesterday's session in Bucharest of the OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers.
The Turkish army has completed preparations for operations in northern Syria and is awaiting orders to launch an invasion of four Syrian cities: Manbij, Tel Tamir, Ain Isa and Tel Rifat