Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov will pay a visit to Turkmenia on January 8-9, informed sources in the Russian capital reported Friday. The Russian foreign minister will visit the republic's president Sapurmarat Niyazov and hold talks with his Turkmenian counterpart Rashid Meredov. During these meetings, under discussion will be the key issues of international politics, including the situation in Afghanistan and around it, and the anti-terrorist operation. The sides will also swap assessments of the developments in Central Asia in the light of the anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan. Besides, the Caspian issue will also be touched upon. Moscow is satisfied to note that Russia's and Turkmenia's positions on the Caspian status, in particular, such a crucial issue as the delimitation of its bottom, have become closer. Under review will also be bilateral cooperation. The Russian foreign minister will arrive in Uzbekistan for an official visit on January 9. In Tashkent Ivanov will meet president Islam Karimov and foreign minister Abdulaziz Kamilov. The agenda of the talks will feature the situation in Afghanistan and the anti-terror operation, considering its influence on the situation in the Central Asian region. The sides will also discuss trade and economic cooperation. The visits are to be crowned by signing cooperation programmes for the year 2002 between the Russian and Turkmenian foreign ministries, and between the Russian and Uzbek foreign ministries. No other documents are expected to be inked.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart