In his message to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Yasser Arafat to start practical implementation of the Mitchell plan. The message of greeting was sent on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. The message of the Russian President reads in part that today, like never before, political will and decisive steps on the part of both sides is needed to start putting into practice the Mitchell plan which covers the key aspects of peace settlement: an immediate stop to violence, confidence measures and a resumption of political dialogue. The Russian head of state believes the settlement of the current crisis will pave the way for attaining the strategic goal - a comprehensive and just settlement of the Mideastern crisis in keeping with resolutions 242 and 338 of the UN Security Council and the Madrid principles, and, firstly, "peace in exchange to land". Russia proceeds from the fact that legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and to the formation of an independent state, will be fulfilled within this framework, the Russian president goes on. He stressed that Russia, in cooperation with all sides concerned, intended to keep doing its best for a stable peace, stability and security in the Middle East.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building