"No open issues" between Serbia and Vatican - PM
Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on Saturday received State Secretary of the Holy See Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Serbian government announced.Source: srbija.gov.rs
Brnabic is quoted as saying during the conversation that relations of Serbia and the Vatican are good and without open issues, with mutual interest in further strengthening of relations in the spirit of mutual respect, trust and tolerance.
Brnabic informed Cardinal Parolin about the current circumstances in the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina and underlined Serbia's sincere determination to continue the dialogue.
She expressed her gratitude to the State Secretary on the principled stance of the Holy See regarding the non-recognition of the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo.
Parolin informed Brnabic that the Vatican follows with special attention the situation in the region and the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, stressing that the protection of the cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is of utmost importance for the Council.
The interlocutors agreed that the work of the Mixed Commission on (Croatian WW2-era Catholic cleric) Alojzije Stepinac and the inter-church dialogue that came out of it, although the final decision has not yet been made, has had positive effects on the relations between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, as well as from the point of view of the methodology, and is an important example for the study of other historical periods and personalities.
Cardinal Parolin conveyed the support of the Vatican to European integration of Serbia, adding that the European Union is basically a project of peace and coexistence of different religions and nationalities, to which Serbia and the region of the Western Balkans belong.
Prime Minister Brnabic and Cardinal Parolin concluded that there is a mutual interest in more intensive cooperation in the field of culture and education, recalling that the existing Protocol on Cooperation between the National Library of Serbia and the Vatican Library is in force, as well as the Agreement on cooperation in the field of higher education.
While in Belgrade, the Vatican official was also received by President Aleksandar Vucic.
First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic stated on Saturday after a meeting with State Secretary of the Holy See Cardinal Pietro Parolin that the visit of the highest official of the Holy See who has ever visited Serbia is historic and that it will give impetus to further cooperation.
Dacic said at a joint press conference with Parolin that Serbia wants to further improve the already good and stable relations with the Vatican, and announced the upcoming visit of Vatican Foreign Minister Paul Gallagher.
According to him, the interests of the Vatican and Belgrade coincide in numerous important issues, such as the protection of Christians, human rights, migrants and refugees, the implementation of the UN agenda on eradicating poverty, protecting the environment, combating climate change, and more.
Parolin said that Serbia can always find in the Vatican an honest interlocutor, especially on the issues of preserving the freedom of religion and human rights.
He expressed his gratitude to the Serbian authorities for their respect to the Catholic community and for meeting their expectations, and voiced hope that this dialogue will continue.