On May 9-10 Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov had telephone conversations with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. On behalf of the Russian leadership the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry conveyed his gratitude to U.S. President George Bush for condolences expressed by him in connection with the tragic events in Kaspiisk on May 9. According to information provided by the press and information department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, in addition to that in the course of the conversations the parties continued discussion of issues related to preparation of the Russian-American summit meeting to take place on May 23-26. In this context they considered the concordance of the documents to be introduced for consideration at the summit meeting and, first of all, the draft agreement on the reduction of strategic offensive armaments between Russia and the USA. The parties stressed their mutual preparedness (taking into account the mutual understanding arrived at recently) to finalize at the forthcoming meeting between Ivanov and Powell in Reykjavik on May 14-15 within the framework of the Russia-NATO Joint Permanent Council major work on the text of the agreement and report the results to Vladimir Putin and George Bush. The interlocutors also discussed urgent international problems, in particular, development of new Russia-NATO relationship mechanisms, the situation in the Middle East and the situation around Iraq.
A fire has sparked on board the Russian aircraft-carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, which currently undergoes repairs. The fire has engulfed the entire power compartment of the vessel