A joint ad hoc group on anti-terrorist measures of the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries met in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss problems of combating terrorism. According to Chinese sources, it is the first time that the foreign ministries of the two countries are holding consultations on practical methods of combating international terrorism. The purpose of the two-day session is to work out ways of helping each other counteract Islamic separatists and international terrorists, Zhang Qiyoue, an official spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said yesterday. The group is also expected to discuss a wide scope of issues dealing with the situation in Afghanistan and the future creation of an anti-terrorist center of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to be based in the Kyrghyz capital Bishkek. The decision to set up a Russian-Chinese group on anti-terrorist measures was taken during late October talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin in Shanghai. In a telephone conversation on November 19, the two leaders emphasized the importance of speeding up the creation of the ad hoc group and scheduling its first session for late November.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.