Although the Pope's appeals for peace are not being heeded, the Vatican's position is gaining ground among the ambassadors who remain in Belgrade. There are about twenty ambassadors who have met "three or four times" over the last few days at the Holy See's Nunciature in Belgrade, to express their appreciation for the Pope's and his collaborators' efforts in favor of peace.
    Among the Asian ambassadors who have remained in Belgrade are those of China and Japan. There are European ambassadors from Greece, Italy, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden; and Latin American ambassadors from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico and Peru. Others, include the ambassadors from Palestine, Morocco, and Zimbabwe, but the list is incomplete.
    The diplomatic representatives of these countries have chosen the Nunciature for their meetings on several occasions because of the Holy See's neutrality, as well as the support its proposals have inspired, especially the emphasis on the need to have the problem of Kosovo handled by international organizations uninvolved in the conflict.
    The Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle is also very appreciative of the Vatican's proposals. The religious leader supported the papal petition for a truce during both Easters, as well as the opening of a "human corridor" to bring immediate relief to the critical situation of all displaced persons. In fact, during his Easter message, the Patriarch alluded to the Russian and Vatican proposals to invite the Serbian authorities to evaluate "the just proposals and the honest intentions which merit our respect because they contribute to a free and profitable life for Kosovo, both for the Serbians as well as the Albanians."
    Archbishop Santos Abril, who is the Nuncio in Belgrade, is very realistic, in spite of his tireless work. In statements published by the Italian daily 'Corriere della Sera,' he said that "if no bombs fell over Easter, it was not out of respect for the Orthodox Easter, but because of the bad weather."
    The Nuncio does believe that the Holy See's proposals for a return to the negotiating table, with the participation of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the European Union, are still valid. "The ambassadors who have remained appreciate the fact that we have had a very open attitude." As regards the petition for opening a "human corridor," the Nuncio replied: "Not everything has been discarded."

10:18am 14/4/99 / Zenit


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