Russia's Foreign Ministry has called upon the leadership of Israel and the PNA "to remain reserved and to prevent separate incidents which are still impossible to prevent from turning into a new spiral of acute confrontation". This is said in the report by spokesman for the Russian foreign-policy agency Alexander Yakovenko made in connection with the situation around Palestinian territories. As the statement notes, "despite the sufficiently long period of the lowering of the level of Palestinian-Israeli confrontation, the situation around the Palestinian territories remains complex and tense". On January 9 four Israeli servicemen and two Palestinians perished as a result of an armed clash. This event was added to the incident with the detention of the Carina-A ship loaded with contraband weapons which evoked a wide negative response in Israel. "Particularly alarming is the fact that all this has been taking place when both sides, as it seemed, have taken the road of making moves to meet each other in the direction of detente", Yakovenko notes. "The PNA took a number of concrete measures to stem extremism while Israel, for its part, eased the regime of restrictions with regard to the Palestinian territories". The Four international mediators (Russia-USA-EU-UN) have made a substantial contribution to the efforts to remedy the situation. Now it is necessary to focus on practical actions to launch a programme of normalisation in accordance with the Tenet-Mitchell scheme, which would make it possible to stabilize the situation and to create necessary conditions for resuming the negotiating process in the future, Yakovenko's statement reads.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.