UNGA president meets with pope

VATICAN CITY -- UN General Assembly President Vuk Jeremić is visiting the Holy See where he discussed the situation in the Middle East, Syria and Serbia with Pope Francis.

Vuk Jeremić and Pope Francis (Tanjug)
Vuk Jeremić and Pope Francis (Tanjug)

The UNGA president gave the pope an icon of St. Sava created by famous Prizren artists. He said that the icon’s authors no longer lived in Prizren and asked him to call for protection of Christian shrines and Christians in Kosovo and Metohija.

According to Jeremić, the pope was also informed about a debate dubbed “Social equality in context of sustainable development” that will be organized in the UNGA on July 8.

“We spent most of the time at today’s meeting with the pope talking about priorities of Serbian presidency regarding sustainable development. The pope was especially interested in a social component of sustainable development that is at the moment the UN’s most important goal,” the UNGA president told Tanjug.

He added that high-ranking Vatican officials could be expected at the UNGA debate.

“The Holy See is a very active UN member in all debates even though it only has an observer status and we work very closely with the Holy See,” Jeremić pointed out.

The UNGA president and the pope also discussed the situation in the Middle East and especially focused on Syria.

Jeremić noted that he and the pope shared concern about the position of Christians in the war-ridden country.

The UNGA president also met with Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Dominique Mamberti and Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

“They were mostly interested in the issue of Kosovo, how we view the latest events. I thanked the Holy See for its principled position on Kosovo and expressed hope that there would be no change in the position because it enabled and encouraged parties to continue negotiations,” Jeremić explained.

The Vatican does not recognize Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence.

“At a meeting with the Italian prime minister, we spent most of the time discussing economic and financial topics. Serbia is organizing a big debate on credit rating agencies’ role in the international financial and economic system in September. This is the issue that Italy is very interested in and we will work closely on organizing the debate,” the UNGA head stressed.

He added that other issues had also been discussed at the meeting, including the issue of sustainable development and environmental protection.

“We touched on bilateral topics as well. I thanked Italy for its support to Serbia in getting the UN General Assembly presidency, for Italy’s investments in Serbia and expressed expectation that there would be more such investments in the coming period and that the two governments will continue to work closely, both in the economic field and when it comes to the European process,” Jeremić concluded.