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Yugoslavia [Former] - Appeal for an immediate moratorium on the NATO military intervention

29 March 1999

Letter to H.E. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, from the general secretaries of the WCC, CEC, and LWF and endorsed by the general secretary of WARC, 29 March 1999.

Dear Mr 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.

                                                                                                                                   Konrad Raiser        
                                                                                                                                   General Secretary        
                                                                                                                                   World Council of Churches        

                                                                                                                                   Keith Clements
                                                                                                                                   General Secretary
                                                                                                                                   Conference of European Churches

                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   Ishmael Noko    
                                                                                                                                   General Secretary        
                                                                                                                                   Lutheran World Federation        

                                                                                                                                   Milan Opocensky
                                                                                                                                   General Secretary
                                                                                                                                   World Alliance of Reformed Churches