Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov began his first in this year foreign trip on Sunday. He intends to visit China, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The visit to Beijing on January 7 will start his Asian tour where the Russian minister will attend an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The participants in the Beijing meeting will mainly focus on the anti-terrorist struggle, settlement in Afghanistan and preparation to the SCO summit in St. Petersburg planned to be held in June. The ministers will also discuss the worsening of the relations between New Delhi and Islamabad. During Ivanov's visit to Turkmenistan on January 8 he intends to discuss issues of preparation of the visit of Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov to Russia. The sides will consider the status of the Caspian Sea and discuss terms of holding of the summit of Caspian countries. Ivanov's Asian tour will be finished in Tashkent where on January 10 he will continue the Russia-Uzbekistan dialog on wide variety of issues concerning the development of bilateral relations, the Russia Journal 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.