Russia does not rule out the introduction of peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan under the U.N. aegis, Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov said in Dushanbe on Friday. However, he pointed out, "it is necessary to thoroughly study their status, their future activity and the aim of their introduction there". These issues, the minister said, should be discussed, above all, with the legitimate government of Afghanistan. It exists already, and such steps should be coordinated with the Afghan authorities, Sergei Ivanov stressed. According to him, Russia declared at the very beginning of the anti-terror operation that servicemen of the Russian army would not take part in hostilities on the territory of Afghanistan.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.