Asks for Avoidance of Violence
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- After Kosovo declared independence today, the Holy See particularly urged Serbian (1!!!) and Kosovar (за компанию) leaders to be prudent and avoid violence.
In a note published on the Vatican Radio Web site, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, responded to those who have asked about the Holy See's position on the matter.
"The unilateral Kosovar declaration of independence -- which is based on the recommendations contained in the plan of Martti Ahtisaari, the U.N. mediator -- creates a new situation, which will naturally be followed with great attention by the Holy See, who will also have to evaluate possible requests of merit," Father Lombardi explained.
"But in this moment," he emphasized, "the Holy See feels first of all the responsibility of its moral and spiritual mission, which also regards peace and good order in relations between nations, and therefore invites all, especially the political officials of Serbia and Kosovo, to be prudent and moderate, and asks for a decided and real commitment to avoid extremist reactions and violence, in such a way that there can now be created the premises of a future of respect, reconciliation and collaboration."
According to the communiqué, "It is necessary to pay particular attention to the safeguarding of democracy and of the rule of law, and in Kosovo, too, the international standards of respect for the rights of minorities and of all inhabitants should be applied, without distinctions according to ethnicity, religion, language or nationality, and there must also be vigilance in regard to the protection of the precious Christian artistic-cultural patrimony."
"There must be complete commitment to supporting the region's stability and the extremely important contribution of the international community is to be expected," the note stated.
Father Lombardi added that Benedict XVI "continues to look with affection upon the people of Serbia and Kosovo; he is near to them and he assures them of his prayers in this crucial moment in their history."Serbia's president said his country would never accept an independent Kosovo. Russia also rejected the declaration, asking for an emergency meeting of the U.N Security Council. The U.N. meeting convened later in the day.
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