Foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation intend, at their extraordinary session to be held in Beijing, to work out a coordinated position on the post-Taliban settlement in Afghanistan, official spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti. According to him, the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation "adhere to identical or very close approaches to the prospects of the political settlement in Afghanistan and in the post-conflict Central Asian region." Yakovenko pointed out that the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation "are going to contribute in every way possible to the quickest normalisation and post-conflict rehabilitation of that long-suffering country." This process, the diplomat believes, should proceed "under the aegis of the UN and with its central role" and be conducive to "the creation of reliable guarantees that Afghanistan will never again turn into the world hotbed of terrorism and intolerance". "Members of the Organisation have no doubt that it is precisely the SCO that should take one of the key places in solving these problems," Yakovenko stressed. One can get free access to the full interview given to RIA Novosti by official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko on web site www.rian.ru.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.