The Russian-Chinese diplomatic consultations have concluded in Beijing ahead of schedule. The major theme of the consultations was the situation in the Middle East, especially the Iraqi crisis. According to director of the department of the Middle East and North Africa under the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mikhail Bogdanov, the Iraqi issue has become the central topic of diplomatic and political discussions throughout the world. The same topic has become a focus of the phone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who is currently visiting Iran, and Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan.
During the round of consultations in Beijing, both sides discussed in detail the situation around Iraq and underlined that the Russian and Chinese approaches to the problem coincided in general. The most important step that has to be taken, announced Russian and Chinese representatives during the consultations, is to continue the search for a peaceful solution of the Iraqi crisis. Both sides also reiterated that they didn't see any reasons to adopt a new resolution on Iraq and believe that the inspections must continue taking into consideration the fact that Iraq is willing to co-operate with UN experts. Such approach allows Russian and Chinese diplomats to co-operate on a constant basis.
During the consultations, the Chinese side confirmed its position not to support the resolution that would pave the way for military action against Iraq.
According to Mikhail Bogdanov, there are reasons to believe that the new resolution proposed by the United States, Great Britain and Spain will not get enough votes in the UN Security Council.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.