The 24th European meeting of the Taize Christian youth community opened in Budapest on Friday. About 50,000 young representatives of Christian organisations from all over the world are attending the forum. In his greetings to the participants, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II said that the main aim of the Budapest meeting was to promote fraternal relations between Christianity's various followers. According to him, this message is particular important today, when the world has been shaken by an explosion of religious fanaticism. For those who make up their own ideologies and lead terrorist organisations, his message read, religion was only a fig leaf for inhuman, foul and incorrect aims. Young Christians should clearly realise that the future of the world depend on them, Alexy II's message stressed. Pope John Paul II also sent his congratulations to the meeting, as did UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the founder of the Taize Community, Father Roger.
The Turkish army has completed preparations for operations in northern Syria and is awaiting orders to launch an invasion of four Syrian cities: Manbij, Tel Tamir, Ain Isa and Tel Rifat