Dialogue Relaunched with Leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- On Saturday John Paul II received in audience the collegial presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina: Catholic Jozo Krizanovic, Muslim Beriz Belkic and Serbian-Orthodox Zivko Radisic.

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During the 20-minute meeting, the three leaders gave the Pope a map of their country engraved in silver, and showed him the geographic distribution of the people according to their traditional religion.

The three later met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state.

Given the stormy changes following the 1992 declaration of independence of the Federated Socialist Yugoslav Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina is now composed of two entities that split the territory in half, each having its own parliament and government: the Croatian-Muslim Federation, led alternatively by a Croatian and Muslim president and vice president; and the Serb-Bosnian Republic.

The two entities share a central legislative body, composed of the Chamber of Representatives and the Peoples´ Chamber, and a collective presidency made up of three members.

This formula respects the 1995 peace agreements which put an end to the civil war.

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