[orthodox-synod] Serbian Patriarch Pavle Meets Opposition Leaders
SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH'S ST. SAVVA YOUTH PRESS SERVICE informative center of the St. Savva's Youth Community of the Archdiocese of Belgrade-Karlovci Str. Gospodar Jevremova 42, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia, YU, tel/fax: + 381 11 628 694, e-mail: sozspc@... Feel free to forward our news and articles further. RELEASE, 10. 08. 1999. Serbian Patriarch Pavle Meets Opposition Leaders
BELGRADE 10. August - His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle with members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, met yesterday morning Serbian opposition representatives and talked about the need for political changes in Serbia, and forming of a transitional expert government in the republic. Opposition leaders offered different concepts for the transitional government - one group believes that the transitional government should be formed through an agreement with the authorities, while the other group holds that the forming of such a government is impossible unless the Yugoslav president stepped down.
After two and a half-hour talks at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade, opposition representatives told the press that they had agreed to participate at an August 19 rally in Belgrade, scheduled by the creators of the Stability Pact for Serbia.
Patriarch Pavle met with leaders of the Serbian Renewal Movement Mr. Vuk Draskovic; Democratic Party Mr. Zoran Djindjic; Serbian Democratic-Christian Party Mr. Vladan Batic; Democratic Party of Serbia Mr. Vojislav Kostunica; Democratic Alternative Mr. Nebojsa Covic; Vojvodina Coalition Mr. Dragan Veselinov; National Assembly Party Mr. Slobodan Rakitic, and the creators of the Stability Pact for Serbia Mr. Mladjan Dinkic and Mr. Predrag Markovic.
St. Savva Youth Press Service was told in Serbian Patriarchate that today the Holly Synod would decide should the Church participate at the rally on the feast of Transfiguration. Since it was discussed at the meeting with the leaders of opposition, the Synod will evaluate possible attempt by Patriarch Pavle to mediate between the opposition and the regime in order to reach a political settlement.
Last evening the SOC's spokesman, Bishop Atanasie Rakita, stated that all participants of the meeting agreed in two things: "that Serbia urgently needs transitional government and serious changes, and that all changes should be peaceful in nature". He underlined that Church insisting in peaceful transition.
During the meeting in the Patriarchate except Patriarch Pavle, the Metropolitan of Montenegro Amfilohije talked, and all opposition leaders had approximately 7-8 minutes to express their attitudes.
The Group 17 coordinator and one of the creators of the Stability Pact for Serbia, Mr. Mladjan Dinkic, said that all the participants had agreed with the idea on a transitional government, adding there were certain differences concerning the modalities for its forming. Dinkic also said that changes had to be achieved through political means and that "clashes, violence, and civil war must be avoided."
Vladan Batic, The Alliance for Change coordinator, told the press that during the talks with Patriarch Pavle, he had stressed that the concept of the transitional government was difficult to realize while Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was in power, because he "has absolute control over MPs in the Serbian legislature."
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic said that the rally on the feast of Transfiguration (August 19.), would be "a kind of a referendum where people will have a chance to say whether they are for changes." He announced that "the last phase of activities aimed at replacing Milosevic" would start with the rally. He added that violence had to be avoided, stressing that no compromise was possible with Milosevic.
Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic told the press that during the talks he had stressed that the transitional government had to be realized through a political agreement "between the pro-regime parliamentary parties and the opposition." "I told Patriarch Pavle I oppose a government which would be formed on the streets. We will not support such a government, because it would deepen the agony and the divisions among the Serbian people," said Draskovic.
New Democracy Vice President Radivoje Lazarevic said that the participants at the talks had called on the ruling party to accept the idea on forming a transitional government, whose goal would be to re-integrate Yugoslavia into most important international political organizations and institutions, and organize fair and democratic elections.
It was noticed that, shortly before the opposition leaders entered the Patriarchate, the former Yugoslav chief-of-staff, lieutenant-general Momcilo Perisic, come out of the same building. His meeting with the Patriarch was not commented.
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