Ali Rodriguez-Araque, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum-Exporting Countries, intends to visit Moscow in early March, said the OPEC headquarters in Vienna. According to OPEC press secretary Abdulrakhman al-Harigi, Rodriguez is expected to meet Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Energy Minister Igor Yusufov and heads of Russian private oil companies. According to the OPEC press secretary, Rodriguez's talks in Moscow are aimed at coordinating OPEC and Russia's positions on the petroleum policy within the framework of the regular 119th Vienna conference of OPEC energy and oil ministers. The conference will open on March 15. Russia, the major petroleum-exporting country outside the world cartel, is to participate in the conference. Rodriguez intends to persuade the Russian authorities that it is necessary to preserve cuts in daily oil exports by 150,000 barrels at least by the end of the first six months of 2002, the OPEC official spokesman said. At the meeting with oil-exporters in early December 2001, the Russian government made the decision to cut daily oil exports by 150,000 barrels. But the terms of validity of this decision were not mentioned.
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