US special envoy in the Middle East, retired General Anthony Zinni, on Friday morning will meet Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres and Minister of Defence Binyamin Ben Eliezer. Then Anthony Zinni will go to Ramallah where on Friday he is due to have talks with leader of the Palestinian National Authority Yasser Arafat and on Saturday, January 5th, with Speaker of the Palestinian parliament Ahmed Korei. Anthony Zinni arrived in Israel on Thursday evening and immediately held a conference with representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry and secret services. At this meeting the sides pointed to the urgent need for holding another session of the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Security Committee which had not met in the past few weeks when Anthony Zinni was absent in the region. Presumably, the Committee will meet on Sunday, January 6th. The American special envoy is expected to return to the region in one or two weeks. The concrete date of his return is not yet known. As was pointed out in Washington, his return depends on the further normalisation of the situation and on the two sides's aspiration for it.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea