Yesterday Pope John Paul II praised Macedonia's efforts to help ethnic Albanian refugees who have fled Kosovo and renewed his plea for dialogue to achieve peace in the latest Balkan conflict.
    The pontiff met with an official delegation from Macedonia and praised that nation for ``bravely and generously'' trying to alleviate the misery of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
    More than 226,000 refugees are in Macedonia. Only Albania has more refugees, with about 433,000 since the conflict began.
    Later, in an early evening religious ceremony in St. Peter's Square, John Paul again spoke of the war in Kosovo and invited people to attend a ceremony in Rome on June 3, the Catholic feast day of Corpus Christi, to join in ``intense prayer for peace.'' Throughout the ceremony before some 50,000 faithful Saturday night, the 79-year-old pope's voice was strong as he spoke repeatedly of the need for peace.

12:17pm 24/5/99 / AP


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