Reacting to the Serbian province of Kosovo’s Sunday declaration of independence, the Vatican called for “prudence and moderation,” according to L’Osservatore Romano.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a front-page L’Osservatore Romano commentary that the Holy See urged politicians in the region to show "a decisive and concrete commitment to ward off extremist reactions and violence."
The statement urged that respect be ensured for all ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities in Kosovo. It also said that Christian artistic and cultural heritage must be preserved.
"The Holy Father continues to look with affection at the people of Kosovo and Serbia, is close to them and is praying at this crucial moment of their history," Fr. Lombardi wrote.
Kosovo has already gained the recognition of major European countries, the United States and Australia. Spain and other European countries are resisting recognition of Kosovo describing the declaration as a unilateral action.
Serbia has vowed to resist the independence movement in Kosovo and recalled its ambassador to the U.S. in protest.
On Tuesday, around 1,000 Kosovo Serbs set fire to two border crossings and police vehicles to protest against the declaration of independence. The attacks took place at the northern Jarinje and Banja crossings, manned by United Nations and Kosovo police, the BBC reports.