DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     April 7, 1999     vol. 10, no. 68

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          BELGRADE (CWNews.com) - Yugoslavia's government on Tuesday declared a unilateral cease fire with Kosovar rebels to coincide with Easter as marked by the Orthodox Church this Sunday and said peace talks should resume immediately.

          The independent television station Studio B said the government had declared a unilateral cease fire in Kosovo starting at 8 pm local time on Tuesday. "All actions against the aggressive Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) will be unilaterally halted at 2000 hours in honour of the greatest Orthodox Christian holiday, Easter," said a government announcement.

          Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic told Britain's Sky News television that the nearly 1 million Kosovo refugees are invited to return home immediately. Studio B said the truce plan came after meetings between ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A NATO spokesman said the cease fire will not result in the suspension of air strikes. "We thought Milosevic might try something like this," he said, adding that Yugoslavia must comply with NATO's demands before suspension of attacks.

          In his Easter message, Pope John Paul II pleaded for the establishment of a "humanitarian corridor" through which aid organizations could provide supplies to needy refugees. The Pope repeated that plea on April 5, after praying the Regina Coeli with pilgrims who gathered in the courtyard of his summer residence at Castel Gandalfo. The Holy Father said: "I encourage public and private institutions, and particularly organizations of citizen volunteers, to intensify their efforts to come to the help of their brothers who are so sorely in need." He also paid tribute to the organizations which have already rallied for that effort.

          Ordinarily, the Pope would rest at Castel Gandalfo through Easter week, and his schedule originally called for a return to the Vatican on April 10. However, the Pontiff has changed those plans, and now will visit the Vatican on Wednesday for his regular public audience. He will then return to Castel Gandalfo on Friday for a meeting with the prime minister of Slovakia.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

April 7, 1999       volume 10, no. 68


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