Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will chair a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Russia-Belarus Union, to be held on Tuesday in Moscow. The meeting will discuss the fulfilment of Union bodies' decisions. The Secretary of State of the Russia-Belarus Union, Pavel Borodin, will make a report on this issue. Other issues on the meeting's agenda include draft programmes for combating terrorism and other manifestations of extremism and for developing the customs infrastructure in Belarus in 2002-2004. The Council of Ministers will also discuss progress in the fulfilment of agreements on the introduction of a single currency in the Union, the fulfilment of the 2001 budget, a draft budget for 2002, measures to ensure equal rights to medical services for the citizens of Russia and Belarus, and proposals for organising the leasing of farm machinery built in the two countries. In all, the agenda of the Union Council of Ministers includes over 20 issues.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.