.- On Saturday, the Holy Father met with Fatmir Sejdiu, president of Kosovo. In the audience, Benedict XVI recognized the importance of those who serve the citizens of Kosovo, their quest for independence and emphasized the rights of the people living in the region.
The Holy Father received the president of Kosovo, so that he could express his closeness “to the entire population of that land, where Christianity has been present since the first centuries of our era,” the Holy See’s press office said.
Currently the Catholic Church in Kosovo numbers about 65,000 faithful and performs an important service (especially in the fields of healthcare and education) in favor of all Kosovars, regardless of their ethnic or religious background.
“The meeting also served to enable the Holy Father to receive first-hand information on the current situation and future prospects.”
Wishing to allay any unfounded speculation that the Vatican has changed its position on the independence of Kosovo, the Holy See’s communiqué said: “The audience …does not represent any change in the position of the Holy See vis-a-vis the definitive juridical status of Kosovo.”
“As for any possible declaration of independence by Kosovo, the Holy See will follow developments on the ground with particular attention and, in her appraisal thereof, will bear in mind the position of the international community,” it continued.
“The Holy See neglects no opportunity to exhort everyone to reconciliation, justice and peace. In this case, she reiterates what the Holy Father said to the diplomatic corps on January 7, 2008, when he expressed the hope that security and respect for the rights of those who live in that land be guaranteed, that the threat of violent conflict be definitively dispelled, and European stability reinforced,” the statement concluded.