On Friday Moscow and Athens will sign a new agreement on cooperation, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov told reporters. He accompanies the Russian President who is now on an official visit in Greece. Talking with reporters on Thursday, the Moscow Mayor reminded them that the previous agreement had been signed in 1995. According to Luzhkov, there are big reserves for expanding economic contacts between Moscow and Athens. "The statuses of the two cities differ to a certain extent, and this fact counts. Moscow is a subject of the Federation, while Athens is only a municipality," said the Moscow mayor. He noted that the present amount of trade between the two capitals does not top 20 million dollars a year. This is "obviously not enough." Yury Luzhkov drew attention to "a very favourable and benevolent atmosphere" in which the visit of the Russian President was going on.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.