Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi today concluded talks in the Kremlin by signing a declaration on the principles of friendly relations and partnership between the two countries, deputy head of the presidential administration Sergei Prikhodko has announced. Moreover, agreements between the nations' education ministries and a protocol on consultations between the foreign ministries were also signed. The Russian president and Ethiopian premier are also to issue instructions on an increase in work to implement bilateral projects in resource extraction, hydro-power and other areas. Prikhodko also reported that the issue of military-technical cooperation was also raised at the talks. According to him, the Ethiopian leadership was ready to work further in this field, as this was and would continue to be a traditional area of interaction. In addition, Prikhodko said that the problem of Ethiopia's debt to Russia had been discussed during the talks and "in standard international conditions practically resolved." According to Prikhodko, Putin and Zenawi will continue their exchange of opinions over a working breakfast, while the latter will discuss practically every question during a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Kasyanov. Prikhodko also reported that Russia would soon appoint a new head of an intergovernmental commission. Education Minister Vladimir Filippov is expected to take up these duties.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.