Bosnia-Herzegovina Official Visits Vatican

Cardinal Sodano Receives Dragan Covic

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 21, 2005 ( A member of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s executive met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano to discuss the challenges of peace and the rights of citizens, among other topics.

Dragan Covic met Friday with the cardinal. A statement by Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls said that “during the meeting, there was a useful exchange of opinions on the country’s present situation.”

“The president expressed also to the cardinal secretary of state his sincere wishes” for the Holy Father’s speedy recovery, affirmed the text.

Cardinal Sodano said that the Holy See understands very well Bosnia’s difficulties, “and hopes that all the citizens will respect the rights of one another,” added the text.

After transmitting the Pope’s desire for “peace and harmony” among all “the peoples that make up the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Cardinal Sodano “expressed the Holy Father’s special greeting to Cardinal Vinko Puljic, to all the episcopate, the clergy and all the Catholic faithful of the country.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s declaration of sovereignty in October 1991 was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on March 3, 1992, after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs.

The Bosnian Serbs — supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro — responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a “Greater Serbia.” In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties initialed a peace agreement that brought to a halt three years of interethnic civil strife. The final agreement was signed in Paris on Dec. 14, 1995.

The Dayton Agreement retained Bosnia and Herzegovina’s international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government.

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