The need for closer rapprochement between the European Union and Russia in political dialogue was underlined at the EU summit in Laken. Louis Michel, vice-premier and foreign minister of Belgium (which is the EU chair now) made a statement to this effect at a press-conference in Brussels held Friday. As Louis Michel noted, the dialogue between Russia and the United States should not be conducted without the European Union's participation. When answering the question about the EU's reaction to the United States' withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty, Javier Solana, EU high commissioner for common foreign and security policies, said that the summit discussed the problem of maintaining strategic stability in the world. The EU members agreed to further work in that direction, including in cooperation with Russia. The press conference pointed to the need for closer cooperation between the European Union, the United Nations, the USA and Russia in settling the Middle East crisis.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea