A Caritas delegation en route to Belgrade with aid for NATO bombing victims has been turned back at the Yugoslavian border. The delegation was led by the organisation's Italian president Bishop Benito Cocchi was denied entrance and had visas cancelled.
    Bishop Cocchi said: "Henceforth, efforts to sensitize public opinion, regarding peace and solidarity and the needs of the Serbian population, victimised by war, will be that much more difficult. Italian Caritas confirmed its determination to carry out its mission of prayer, peace and solidarity, as soon as possible, hoping that it will not be faced with incomprehensible difficulties again."
    The mission to Belgrade was part of a larger peace initiative which sent delegations to all the countries affected by the war. That led by Bishop Cocchi was of "special significance and importance," given the task Italian Caritas is carrying out in Serbia, "where it has supported the projects of the local Caritas directed to the elderly, the mentally ill, and the handicapped, in an ecumenical spirit of sharing and solidarity." Caritas stressed that the mission had been prepared "through contacts with diplomatic and governmental authorities and with the highest authority of the Serbian Orthodox Church."

9:36am 30/4/99 / Zenit


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