European Union Cannot Exclude Bosnia, Says L'Osservatore Romano

Leaders at Summit Promise Aid to 5 Balkan Nations

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 22, 2003 ( The European Union must not exclude Bosnia-Herzegovina from its future, L’Osservatore Romano said on the eve of John Paul II’s apostolic trip to the Balkan country.

According to Saturday’s Italian edition of the Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper, the region “needs concrete projects based on the person and respect for his dignity, which offer the possibility of work, and promote dialogue and collaboration among the different components of civil society.”

According to L’Osservatore Romano, John Paul II’s trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina, following that to Sarajevo in 1997, “is a pulpit sculpted in history from which he speaks to Europe and the world.”

The 1992-1995 war which completely altered the old Yugoslavia are an admonition to the Old World, and the conflict’s 200-a-day death toll has “dug a deep grave, a cruel wound in the heart called Bosnia,” the paper said. Because of this, Europe cannot remain closed “in her heavy satiety.”

A summit of European Union leaders ended on Saturday, offering 210 million euros ($244 million) in aid to five Balkan countries (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro), and expressed their intention to include them in the union.

To satisfy the conditions necessary for their future inclusion, the representatives of those Balkan countries promised to cooperate in handing over alleged war criminals to the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

A joint statement of those countries noted that organized crime and corruption, which have flourished since the dismembering of the Communist regime, are “a real obstacle for democratic stability.”

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s request for admission to the European Union was endorsed by John Paul II today in his address upon arrival in the Balkan nation.

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