Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has given instructions to the chief of the General Security Service, Avi Dehter, to resume contacts with law enforcers of the Palestinian National Authority. At issue are mostly joint activities aimed at thwarting possible terrorist acts on the part of the radical Islamic organisations which have refused to obey Yasser Arafat's call to stop the armed fight against Israel. Observers believe that the given instructions contradict Sharon's earlier declared policy to cancel all the contacts with representatives of the Palestinian National Authority. According to many estimates, the instructions followed a night telephone call US Secretary of State Colin Powell made to Ariel Sharon. According to some information, Powell nearly demanded from the Palestinian leader to resume the contacts with the Palestinians at the level of law enforcements. Powell made a similar telephone call to Yasser Arafat. In addition, reports say that the US Secretary of State has demanded that the Palestinians make unambiguous decisions which could help stop the terrorist activity. In his turn, Sharon told Colin Powell that over the 24 hours that followed the Sunday TV address of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinians had made over 30 assaults on the Israelis. The Jewish settlements in the Gaza strip are still being exposed to mortar fire. All this, Sharon believes, requires that Israel maintain control over the Palestinian territories. Despite all this, Sharon has given instructions to Israeli special forces to resume contacts with Palestinian law enforcers.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea