The 18th General Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation opens on Wednesday in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. The parliamentarians will discuss problems of globalisation and their influence on the development of the states in the Black Sea region. The session's agenda has also an item on naming the place and the date of the next session of the organisation in 2002 and the election, on the basis of rotation, of the head for the next six months. The mandate of the present head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation - President of the Bulgarian Norodno Sobranie (parliament) Ognyan Gerdzhikov - expires in December. The session in Sofia will be attended by the delegations of all eleven member-countries of the organisation: Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Moldavia, Russia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. The parliaments of Germany, Israel and Slovakia will send their observers. Invitations to the forum have also been sent to a number of international organisations, including the Black Sea Bank for Development. The conference will last for two days.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea