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World Council of Churches
World Council of Churches Office of Communication Press Release 150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
29 March 1999
INTERNATIONAL CHURCH BODIES CALL FOR A HALT TO THE NATO
INTERVENTION AND A RETURN TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE
Geneva, 29 March 1999 - International church bodies with headquarters here today appealed to the United Nations (UN) to initiate immediate efforts to reach a just and lasting peace in the Kosovo conflict. AThe NATO-led intervention in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia manifests the failure of the international community to achieve a credible,negotiated solution,@ says the text of a joint letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, from the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), with the support of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC).
The letter goes on to say that each day of bombing makes the solution more distant and increases the risk of regionalization of the conflict. It also heightens the danger of a renewed divide in Europe.
WCC General Secretary, Konrad Raiser, CEC General Secretary, Keith Clements, LWF General Secretary, Ishmael Noko and WARC General Secretary, Milan Opocensky, therefore appealed for an immediate moratorium on the military interventions, in order to allow for a renewal of the political process under the auspices of the UN.
Text of the letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, signed by Konrad Raiser, General Secretary of WCC, Keith Clements, General Secretary of CEC, Ishmael Noko, General Secretary of LWF, and also endorsed by Milan Opocensky, General Secretary of WARC:
"Dear Secretary General,
We write to express our profound concern at the current military intervention of NATO in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and appeal to you to immediately initiate efforts of the United Nations to seek a just and lasting peace to the conflict in Kosovo.
The NATO-led intervention in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia manifests the failure of the international community to achieve a credible, negotiated solution. Each day of bombing makes the solution more distant, and increases the risk of regionalisation of the conflict. It also enhances the danger of a renewed divide within Europe.
We therefore appeal for an immediate moratorium on the NATO military intervention, in order to allow for a renewal of the political process under your leadership and under the auspices of the United Nations.
We agree with the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church on March 25, 1999 urging ‘the governments of all countries of the world for their action in order that the bombardment should be stopped and that a just solution to the current crisis may be found through negotiations. The Serbian Orthodox Church appeals to the military and civilian authorities of Serbia and Yugoslavia to do everything possible so that peace may be established’.
We affirm the declaration of Kosovo religious leaders for a non-violent resolution of the conflict based on guaranteed rights of all communities.
We reiterate our conviction that decisive progress was made in the Rambouillet process towards a durable political settlement, and this should not be lost. In the present situation, however, we believe that the United Nations alone can offer a framework for a new initiative which can break the present deadlock.
On behalf of our member churches we confirm our willingness to back and support any initiative taken by Your Excellency to stop the present acts of military violence and seek a non-violent resolution of this conflict in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."
For more information contact:
Karin Achtelstetter, Media Relations Officer
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6152 (office);
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches,
now 336, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all
Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church
but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.
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