Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov will take part in the first session of the Russia-NATO Council in the format of 20 to open on Thursday in the Belgian capital. The heads of military departments, the diplomatic sources reported, will discuss new prospects of cooperation between the participants in the 20-country group with account being taken of the declaration adopted at the Rome summit on May 28, 2002.
The new format of collaboration between Russia and NATO, they believe, will intensify joint efforts in such spheres as security, combating international terrorism, non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their delivery vehicles, peacekeping activity, the settlement of conflicts, and will further develop military-political and military-technical cooperation.
Sergei Ivanov is also planning to hold a number of bilateral meetings, including with the NATO Secretary General George Robertson, defence minister of France Michele Alliot-Marie, US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, defence minister of Germany Rudolf Scharping, defence minister of Norway Kristin Devold and British secretary of state for defence Geoffrey Hoon.
The diplomatic sources believe that one of the issues to be discussed during these meetings will be the situation in South Asia and the mediation role of Russia in the settlement of the military conflict between India and Pakistan.
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)