DAILY CATHOLIC TUESDAY March 30, 1999 vol. 10, no. 62
NEWS & VIEWS
VATICAN URGES END TO KOSOVO BOMBING AS POPE INSISTS IT IS "NEVER TOO LATE" FOR KOSOVO PEACE
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- At a March 29 audience with members of the European Parliament, Pope John Paul II renewed his call for an end to the violence in Kosovo.
Speaking of "a conflict which is unfolding at our doorsteps," and which "wounds the whole of Europe," the Pope asked "that everything possible be done to find peace in the region, so that the civilian populations can live in brotherhood" in the Balkan region.
"In responding to violence, another act of violence is never the path to solving the crisis," the Pope insists. Instead, he said, negotiations must be undertaken to ease the conflicts that trouble the Balkan region, and find means of living together "respectful of the different peoples and their diverse cultures." Such a negotiated solution, he said, could be a new factor in promoting European unity.
Meanwhile the Vatican Secretary of State said that peace talks could not begin while the NATO air strikes continue. Cardinal Angelo Sodano told the Italian daily La Repubblica, "The bombing of Yugoslavia must be stopped immediately." He explained: "It is impossible to speak of peace and negotiations during the nightmare of bombing and massacres."
"It is never too late to sit down and negotiate," said Pope John Paul II on Sunday, as he repeated his frequent plea for a peaceful settlement of the Kosovo conflict.
Speaking after the celebration of Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope alluded to the palms themselves as symbols of "the peace which is as ardently desired by the people of the Balkans." He prayed "that brotherhood and understanding would be more powerful than the forces of hatred in that part of Europe."
"The Pope is with the people who are suffering," the Holy Father said. "He appeals to everyone: it is always the time for peace!"
In Belgrade, Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, the papal nuncio,
said he was "doing everything to re-start the dialogue" that had
collapsed before NATO air strikes began. He told the Italian daily Il
Giornale that he was carefully pursuing contacts with the Belgrade
government. Other Vatican sources disclosed diplomatic contacts
between the Holy See and the government of Russia.
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NEWS & VIEWS