Reykjavik, Iceland; 14 May 2002 (RFE/RL) -- NATO foreign ministers open two days of talks today in Iceland's capital Reykjavik. The meeting is due to focus on setting up a NATO-Russia Council and to review plans to invite candidate countries to join NATO at a summit in Prague in November. The 19 NATO ministers are expected to reach a final agreement on the council. The two sides are aiming to sign the deal at a NATO-Russia summit in Italy on 28 May.
The council would allow Russia to be an equal partner in decision making on a limited range of security issues. The plan grew out of Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to align his country with the international coalition against terrorism after the September attacks on the United States.
The NATO ministers will meet today with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to discuss the council. Later, the ministers will meet their counterparts from the nine candidates aiming to join the alliance.