The inter-related ABM and START issues were on top of the agenda during the Russo-American strategic stability consultations, which took place in Moscow on Thursday. This information was disclosed by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The primary objective of the consultations, which were held with the participation of Georgy Mamedov, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, and John Bolton, the US Undersecretary of State, was to prepare the discussion of the same issues during the forthcoming visit of the US Secretary of State Colin Powell. The US high-ranking official is expected in Moscow on December 9-10. In particular, the Russian side has repeatedly pointed out to the negative consequences for international stability in case if the United States decides to unilaterally withdraw from the 1972 ABM Treaty, which is supported by the overwhelming majority of countries. This action is especially dangerous in the present difficult situation in the world, Moscow believes. At the same time, the officials confirmed Russia's adherence to the spirit of understanding, which had been achieved during the recent Russo-American summit in the United States. The sides agreed to continue parallel consultations on the ABM Treaty and to formalise a new agreement to launch new cardinal, irreversible and controlled reduction of nuclear arsenals. Mamedov and Bolton have also considered a number of other burning issues of strategic stability, international disarmament and non-proliferation, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.