Vietnam does not intend to transfer the military base in Cam Ranh to any third party, Vietnamese ambassador in Russia Ngo Tat To said on Tuesday. According to the diplomat, the potential of the base's infrastructure will be used for expanding the country's social and economic development. He indicated that it had been scheduled to close the base on January 1, 2002. However, the two countries' experts have not yet fixed a specific time limit for discussing the technical issues for the closure of the base, the ambassador reported. The Vietnamese ambassador stressed that "Russia's decision to close the base had not surprised Vietnam." According to him, despite the closure of the base, bilateral relations will not deteriorate, quite the opposite, they will be strengthened. At present, the ambassador indicated, Vietnam is consolidating political dialogue and is increasing cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, oil and gas extraction, education, technologies, etc. Specific programmes by the Vietsovpetrol joint enterprise are also being implemented.
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