DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     May 27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 102

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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EUROPEAN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES UNITED IN SUPPORT OF PEACE

Mixed Delegation to Give Message to Milosevic and Kofi Annan

          ROME, MAY 26 (ZENIT).- The European Christian Churches have made a joint commitment in favor of peace in Yugoslavia. Within the next few days, a document signed by Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants will be given to Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic and U.N. secretary general, Kofi Annan which proposes a truce in military operations in order to return to negotiations.

          The initiative was launched in Vienna on May 18 by Metropolitan Kiril, in charge of foreign affairs for the Orthodox Patriarchy of Moscow, who invited all the Christian Churches to participate.

          The Vatican was represented by Msgrs. Celestino Migliore, and Ivan Jurkovic. The meeting was also attended by the secretary general of the Ecumenical Council of European Churches; Jurgen Godhe, president of the German Evangelical Diaconate; Pastor Stewart, president of the French Federation; Canon Richard Marsh, of the Anglican Church; and a representative from the Taize Community.

          The meeting, which began with prayer, was sponsored by the "Informal Christian Group for Peace." It was followed by an exchange of opinions on the situation, and a comparison of the different initiatives taken to date.

          During the debate, there was fundamental agreement on the general principles: an end to the bombing and ethnic cleansing, and great concern for the refugees and for Europe itself which, ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, runs the risk of seeing efforts toward rapprochement and integration between East and West vanish, with the ultimate danger of new tensions between the Churches.

          A decision was made to take a joint step in the preparation of a common document which a mixed delegation will take first to Belgrade and then to the United Nations in New York, to entrust Kofi Annan with the concrete diplomatic initiative.

          Through the Moscow Patriarchy, contacts are being made with Belgrade to determine the date of a meeting with Milosevic. It is possible such a meeting could take place at the end of this week or next week. No information has been given on the content of the document or the specific terms of the proposal, since all parties have maintained the strictest silence.

          It is the first time, since the conflict began, that the European Churches of all denominations meet by common initiative. A fact which continues the movement initiated by the Vatican with the mission in Belgrade of Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, a few days after the bombing began, and continued by the Moscow Patriarchy when Patriarch Alexey II himself went to Belgrade on a peace mission, after receiving a message of support from John Paul II. ZE99052601


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May 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 103
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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