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WCC NEWS: Central committee minute on Kosovo

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  • Rev Fr John Brian
    World Council of Churches - News Release Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 media@wcc-coe.org For immediate release - 05/09/2006 04:10:45 PM PEACEFUL
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2006
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      World Council of Churches - News Release
      Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 media@... For immediate
      release - 05/09/2006 04:10:45 PM

      PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE BASIS OF FUTURE KOSOVO, WARNS CENTRAL COMMITTEE

      The World Council of Churches' (WCC) central committee has urged religious
      and political leaders to promote the return of displaced persons,
      co-existence and reconciliation in the divided region of Kosovo as the basis
      of any long-term settlement.

      "The realization of a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Kosovo must begin,
      realistically, with peaceful co-existence," a minute adopted by the central
      committee stated.

      The future political status of the region, a part of Serbia that came under
      United Nations rule in 1999 following a period of civil conflict and
      military intervention by NATO forces, is being decided in international
      negotiations this year.

      The committee also requested local religious leaders in Kosovo to make every
      effort "to foster healing and harmonious relations in a society that has
      been torn asunder by violence, hatred and conflict," and committed the
      Council to work closely with its member churches to monitor human rights and
      religious freedom in the region.

      Following the 1999 conflict, most non-Albanians, predominantly Christian
      Serbs, fled the Albanian-majority region, and nearly 150 historic churches
      were destroyed.

      The WCC governing body appealed to the international community, as well as
      all relevant authorities, to offer guarantees to allow a return of all
      persons displaced by conflict, and to foster co-existence in still-divided
      communities.

      "On this basis the international community can implement a sustained effort
      toward an enduring and just peace, while securing freedom and tolerance in a
      truly multi-ethnic and multi-religious Kosovo," the minute adopted by
      central committee stated.

      The central committee also gave attention to the rights of religious
      minorities in this predominantly Muslim region, and to the preservation of
      the exceptional cultural and religious architecture and heritage of Kosovo.

      The WCC led ecumenical efforts in the 1990s, along with the Conference of
      European Churches and several ecumenical agencies, to foster efforts for
      peace and reconciliation in war-torn former Yugoslavia. The minute expressed
      particular support for the commitments of a recent interfaith conference on
      peaceful co-existence and dialogue hosted by the Serbian Orthodox Church, in
      cooperation with Norwegian Church Aid and the World Conference on Religion
      and Peace.

      Related Links:

      Full text of the Minute on Kosovo will be available later on Tuesday, 5
      September, on the WCC website:
      http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/central-committee/geneva-200
      6/reports-and-documents.html

      More information on the WCC Central Committee meeting is available on the
      WCC website:
      http://www.oikoumene.org/en/events-sections/cc2006.html

      Additional information: Juan Michel, +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507
      6363 media@...
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