The seventh meeting of the Russian-Bulgarian intergovernmental commission on trade-and-economic and scientific-technical cooperation will be held in early February, 2002 in Sofia. Russian and Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Ministers Alexander Avdeyev and Ivan Petkov discussed the preparations for the meeting and practical proposals on the schedule of visits' exchange on top and summit levels in the first half of 2002. In this connection the sides stressed the importance of the coming visit to Moscow of Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passi. Speaking about bilateral relations and international issues of mutual interest, the sides pointed out similar standpoints and expressed the political will to develop Russian-Bulgarian dialogue. Avdeyev and Petkov signed the working plan of the consultations between the Russian and Bulgarian Foreign Ministries for 2002.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.