The US has never had any plans to use nuclear weapons in Afghanistan, US ambassador Alexander Vershbow said in Moscow Monday, speaking at the journalism department of Moscow State University. At the same time, Vershbow recalled that one should not forget about threats from Osama bin Laden about possible development and use by terrorist organisations of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear ones, against the US. Replying to a question about the US attitude to Russia's ongoing anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya, Vershbow said that the American side "is concerned by how some military units are behaving in Chechnya violating human rights". He considers it important that all such cases should be investigated, and those guilty identified and punished. At the same time, the American diplomat emphasised that the American side in no way "justifies the actions of terrorists and separatists" wherever they may be.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.