Former King of Afghanistan Zahir Shah met a papal delegation at his villa in Rome last night. Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Paolo Romeo, the apostolic nuncio in Italy, attended the meeting. No details of the meeting, held on the eve of the inter-Afghan peace conference in Bonn, have been given. However, as is well-known, the Pope is interested in the establishment of a stable multi-ethnic state in Afghanistan. The Roman-Catholic Church and Pope John Paul II have spoken out in favour of establishing peace in the region and the need to help Afghan refugees. The ex-king who is 86 years old will not take part in the Bonn conference on Afghanistan, but a delegation of his supporters, including one woman, will participate in it.
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)