A well-informed diplomatic source in Moscow reported the necessity to coordinate three remaining issues before the May 14-16 Reykjavik meeting, where the document on new relations between Russia and NATO (the 20 format) is to be initialled. The source explained there were three chief questions to be solved: first of all, the format and status of the 20 should be clearly defined, and the possibility of it being 19 plus 1 instead of 20 excluded. Each state is supposed to speak individually with due account taken of its national interests, so that creation of blocs to dwell upon moot issues is ruled out. The source also noted that the decision should be taken by means of consensus, the way it is done in G8 (Russia, Canada, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and Great Britain). The second issue to be addressed is whether the Russia-NATO Permanent Joint Council, set up in accordance with the fundamental act, is to be preserved (Moscow) or abolished (NATO). The third thing is to coordinate the issues to be discussed in the 20 format. The source noted the Russian version of the list of questions to be proposed for discussion of the 20 contains more issues than NATO's.
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