DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     June 3, 1999     vol. 10, no. 107

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Will Ask U.N. Secretary General to Be Protagonist for Peace

          VATICAN CITY, JUN 2 (ZENIT).- John Paul II is taking another step in his quest for a peaceful solution to the conflict devastating the Balkans. According to Joaquin Navarro-Valls, spokesman for the Holy See, the Pope has requested a personal interview with Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations, who immediately accepted the invitation. The meeting will take place tomorrow, Thursday, at 1 p.m.

          With this meeting, John Paul II hopes to respond to "the worsening situation in Yugoslavia and the humanitarian drama resulting from it."

          From the very beginning, the Holy See has condemned the Milosevic regime's ethnic cleansing, as well as the NATO air attacks, which have caused numerous innocent deaths. Simultaneously, he has undertaken an impressive diplomatic endeavor, which has included meetings of pontifical legates with Slobodan Milosevic; letters to president Bill Clinton of the United States and to Javier Solana, NATO secretary general; consultations with religious leaders from areas affected by the war, etc.

          This work has been coupled with a special campaign of prayer for peace among all Christians of the world in May, and by a mission of prayer of the Holy See which will take papal representatives to Belgrade, Macedonia and Albania tomorrow to celebrate Corpus Christi with victims of the violence.

          According to Navarro-Valls, tomorrow the Pontiff will ask Kofi Annan to have the solution to the conflict brought back to the heart of the U.N. This position of the Holy See was expressed the very first day after the allied air attacks on Yugoslavia. In fact, some argue that the NATO intervention violates the norms of international law, as it lacks a specific mandate in this regard from the U.N. Security Council.

          On April 27, 1999 John Paul II wrote a letter to Kofi Annan stating, "The Holy See very much hopes that the Organization will find its full role in the management of a crisis affecting the whole international community. It is especially urgent that law and institutions be heard and that these not be suffocated by the clash of arms." ZE99060206


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June 3, 1999       volume 10, no. 107


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