Archbishop Franc Perko of Belgrade has dismissed a rumor that Pope John Paul II will visit the Yugoslavian capital on his return trip to Rome after visiting Romania early in May. Archbishop Perko told the Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana that he could "completely exclude" the possibility of a papal visit to the embattled Balkan city. "The Pope has always spoken out against the bombing, and for that he is appreciated by the authorities in Belgrade," the archbishop explained. "But to visit Belgrade under these conditions would signal support for Milosevic, and that Holy See cannot allow that."
    Archbishop Perko said that he is pessimistic about the prospects that peace talks will end the current warfare. Saying that both NATO and Milosevic appear unwilling to compromise, he reasoned that in the absence of "a real miracle," a negotiated solution will prove elusive. "I cannot see any solution other than victory or defeat," he said.
    The Belgrade prelate expressed regret that the Serbian leadership did not pursue negotiations in Rambouillet, primarily because they did not have confidence in their negotiating partners from NATO. "A discussion-- even if it lasted forever-- would have avoided the massacres," he said. Once the bombing began, he said, it eliminated "any possibility of future accord between Serbs and Albanians."

11:44am 28/4/99 / Catholic World News


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