Viewing cable 02VATICAN6156
Title: ADM. JOHNSON/AMB. NICHOLSON BALKAN TRIP FOCUSES ON

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
02VATICAN61562002-12-30 13:40:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vatican
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 006156 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), EUR/SCE, PD/ECA (MINER) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL KIRF KPAO KIRF KPAO VT VTPREL
SUBJECT:  ADM. JOHNSON/AMB. NICHOLSON BALKAN TRIP FOCUSES ON 
INTER-RELIGIOUS, INTERETHNIC RECONCILIATION 
 
REF: SIDEREAS/FROWICK EMAIL DECEMBER 23 
 
¶1.  SUMMARY: AT THE INVITATION OF AFSOUTH CINC ADMIRAL 
JOHNSON, AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON TRAVELED TO THE BALKANS TO 
MEET WITH RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN BOSNIA AND KOSOVO AND WITH 
AMBASSADOR BUTLER IN SKOPJE, TO PROMOTE RELIGIOUS 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 02        VATICA  06156  01 OF 02  301354Z 
RECONCILIATION EFFORTS IN THE REGION.  IN BOSNIA THE 
DELEGATION MET WITH THE CATHOLIC, MUSLIM AND JEWISH MEMBERS 
OF THE B-H INTER-RELIGIOUS COUNCIL (IRC) WHO ADMITTED 
CONTINUING CHALLENGES IN FORGING RECONCILIATION IN BOSNIA; 
CATHOLIC CARDINAL PULJIC FOCUSED ON NEED FOR REFUGEES TO BE 
ABLE TO RETURN "WITH DIGNITY."  AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON ALSO 
BROKE AWAY FOR A BRIEF MEETING WITH FRANCISCAN FRIAR DZOLAN 
TO DISCUSS THE FRANCISCANS' ATTITUDE TOWARD RECONCILIATION. 
IN KOSOVO, THE DELEGATION VISITED AN EMBASSY VATICAN- 
SPONSORED PROJECT FOR INTER-ETHNIC RECONCILIATION RUN BY THE 
SANT'EGIDIO COMMUNITY.  CHILDREN STUDYING IN THE "SCHOOL OF 
PEACE" AT THE PRIZREN ALBANIAN NORMAL SCHOOL DEMONSTRATED AN 
UNDERSTANDING OF HISTORICAL PHENOMENA SUCH AS THE HOLOCAUST 
AND THE US CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND CLEARLY ENJOYED EACH 
OTHER'S COMPANY.  THE NEXT STEP IN PRIZREN SHOULD BE TO 
INCORPORATE SERB CHILDREN IN THE PROGRAM ALONG WITH THE 
KOSOVAR ALBANIANS AND TURKS AND THE BOSNIACS CURRENTLY 
INVOLVED.  THE TRIP CONCLUDED WITH A LUNCH HOSTED BY COMKFOR 
LTG MINI, WHO HAS URGED THE CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PRIZREN TO 
PROMOTE SERB RETURNS AND ASKED EMBASSY VATICAN TO WORK WITH 
THE USG TO PUT PRESSURE ON THE BISHOP TO DO SO. END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
BOSNIAN INTER-RELIGIOUS COUNCIL: MORE WORK TO DO 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
¶2.  CINC AFSOUTH ADMIRAL JOHNSON INVITED U.S. AMBASSADOR TO 
THE HOLY SEE JIM NICHOLSON TO ACCOMPANY HIM ON A TRIP TO THE 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        VATICA  06156  01 OF 02  301354Z 
BALKANS DECEMBER 19-20, TO MEET WITH RELIGIOUS LEADERS 
WORKING FOR RECONCILIATION IN BOSNIA, AND TO VISIT AN 
EMBASSY VATICAN-SPONSORED RECONCILIATION PROJECT IN PRIZREN, 
YUGOSLAVIA.  IN SARAJEVO AMBASSADOR BOND AND EMBASSY 
SARAJEVO TEAM BRIEFED THE DELEGATION, NOTING THE GOOD 
PROGRESS THE RELIGIOUS GROUPS HAD MADE IN DRAFTING A LAW ON 
RELIGIONS (NOTE: OUR VATICAN CONTACTS BELIEVE THIS DRAFT LAW 
PROVIDES "EXCELLENT GUARANTEES").  BRIEFERS NOTED THAT 
PROBLEMS AMONG THE MOSTLY CATHOLIC CROATS CONTINUE, WITH THE 
VATICAN RELUCTANT TO TAKE ON THE MORE NATIONALISTIC ELEMENTS 
OF ITS OWN CLERGY IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA.  THE CROAT 
COMMUNITY HAS DEVELOPED A "MINORITY COMPLEX" AND THROWS UP 
ITS OWN OBSTACLES TO CROAT REFUGEE RETURNS BY INSISTING THAT 
ALL MUNICIPAL SERVICES BE REBUILT BEFORE RETURNS CAN OCCUR. 
CARDINAL PULJIC HAS GREAT CREDIBILITY FROM WEATHERING THE 
WAR IN SARAJEVO, BUT HE SHARES THIS "COMPLEX."  THE CLERGY 
NEED TO LET DOWN THEIR GUARD AND TAKE THE LEAD IN PROMOTING 
INTER-RELIGIOUS RECONCILIATION.  KEY MEASURES TO TAKE EARLY 
ON WOULD BE PROMOTING VISITS TO EACH OTHER'S PLACES OF 
WORSHIP, AND WORKING TOGETHER ON A SCHOOL CURRICULUM. 
 
¶3.  AMBASSADOR BOND, ADMIRAL JOHNSON, AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON 
AND STAFF THEN MET WITH THREE OF THE FOUR RELIGIOUS LEADERS 
IN SARAJEVO -- CATHOLIC CARDINAL PULIC, MUSLIM MUFTI CERIC, 
AND JEWISH COMMUNITY LEADER DR. JAKOB FINCI.  THE SERB 
ORTHODOX COMMUNITY WAS NOT REPRESENTED BECAUSE METROPOLITAN 
NIKOLAJ HAD OTHER COMMITMENTS.  CERIC EXPRESSED THE GROUP'S 
GRATITUDE TO THE US FOR HELPING END THE WAR AND BRINGING 
SECURITY TO BOSNIA. HE WAS POSITIVE ON THE DRAFT LAW ON 
RELIGIONS, NOTING IT WAS NOW BEFORE THE B-H ASSEMBLY.  BOTH 
CERIC AND FINCI SPOKE FRANKLY ABOUT THE CHALLENGES STILL 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 04        VATICA  06156  01 OF 02  301354Z 
FACING THE IRC, IN PARTICULAR DIFFICULTIES RESTORING 
PROPERTIES AND DEVELOPING A COMMON PROPOSAL FOR RELIGIOUS 
EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  BOTH NOTED BOSNIA'S LONG 
TRADITION OF RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE AS A SOURCE OF HOPE FOR THE 
FUTURE EVEN AS THEY DECRIED BOSNIAN POLITICAL LEADERS' 
DEMAGOGUERY ON RELIGIOUS IDENTIFICATION.  PULJIC SAID THERE 
WAS NO ALTERNATIVE TO DIALOGUE AND ADMITTED THERE WAS MUCH 
WORK YET TO BE DONE BEFORE BOSNIA COULD EMBARK ON A PATH 
TOWARD "EUROPE."  PULIC EMPHASIZED, AS PREDICTED, THE NEED 
FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND FOR REFUGEES TO BE ABLE TO 
RETURN TO THEIR ORIGINAL ABODES "NOT AS PAUPERS, BUT WITH 
DIGNITY."  ADMIRAL JOHNSON AND AMBASSADOR BOND AND 
AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON URGED THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS TO EXERCISE 
LEADERSHIP. ALL THREE FOCUSED ON THE NEED FOR THE IRC TO DO 
MORE OUTSIDE OF SARAJEVO AND TO SHOW THE WORLD AN EXAMPLE OF 
INTERFAITH RECONCILIATION AND COOPERATION. 
 
¶4.  AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON BROKE AWAY FOR A SHORT MEETING WITH 
FRANCISCAN FRIAR MIJO DZOLAN, WHO, UNLIKE HIS CROAT 
FRANCISCAN BROTHERS IN AND AROUND MOSTAR, HAS A STRONG TRACK 
RECORD OF PROMOTING INTER-ETHNIC UNITY IN BOSNIA.  HE 
BRIEFED US ON HIS LATEST PROJECT -- A COMMUNITY HOUSE WHERE 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
                           UNCLASSIFIED     PTQ4336 
 
PAGE 01        VATICA  06156  02 OF 02  301354Z 
ACTION ECA-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AF-00    AID-00   CIAE-00  INL-00   DODE-00 
      SRPP-00  DS-00    EUR-00   UTED-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00 
      INR-00   IO-00    L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    DCP-01   NSAE-00 
      NSCE-00  OMB-01   PA-00    PER-00   PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00 
      P-00     SCT-00   SP-00    IRM-00   SS-00    TEST-00  TRSE-00 
      T-00     USIE-00  R-00     IIP-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-00 
      DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /006W 
                  ------------------1E1992  301354Z /38 
R 301340Z DEC 02 
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 
INFO AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 
AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 
AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 
 
UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 VATICAN 006156 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), EUR/SCE, PD/ECA (MINER) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL KIRF KPAO KIRF KPAO VT VTPREL
SUBJECT:  ADM. JOHNSON/AMB. NICHOLSON BALKAN TRIP FOCUSES ON 
INTER-RELIGIOUS, INTERETHNIC RECONCILIATION 
 
PEOPLE OF ALL FAITHS AND ETHNICITIES COME TOGETHER TO SHARE 
THEIR STORIES OF THE WAR, OBTAIN COUNSELING, AND REACH OUT 
TO OTHERS.  DZOLAN TOLD US THIS IS ONE SMALL EXAMPLE OF 
BOSNIA'S TRADITIONAL TOLERANCE, BUT ONE HE HOPES WILL GROW. 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 02        VATICA  06156  02 OF 02  301354Z 
--------------------------------------------- - 
KOSOVO: RECONCILIATION WITH THE WRONG PARTNERS 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
¶5.  IN KOSOVO, THE DELEGATION VISITED AN EMBASSY VATICAN- 
SPONSORED PROJECT FOR INTER-ETHNIC RECONCILIATION RUN BY THE 
SANT'EGIDIO COMMUNITY.  WITH A USD 60,000 GRANT FROM PD/ECA, 
SANT'EGIDIO (A LAY CATHOLIC COMMUNITY THAT FOCUSES ON 
DEVELOPMENT AND RECONCILIATION IN AFRICA AND THE BALKANS) 
DEVELOPED AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM THAT TRAINS 
TEACHERS AND PROVIDES MATERIALS TO TEACH RECONCILIATION 
TECHNIQUES.  THE CHILDREN STUDYING IN THE "SCHOOL OF PEACE" 
AT THE PRIZREN NORMAL SCHOOL SANG AND READ THEIR OWN TEXTS, 
DEMONSTRATING AN UNDERSTANDING OF HISTORICAL PHENOMENA SUCH 
AS THE HOLOCAUST AND THE U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. THE 
CHILDREN CLEARLY ENJOYED EACH OTHER'S COMPANY, OFFERING HOPE 
FOR THE YOUNG GENERATION T OVERCOME THEIR PARENTS' 
HOSTILITY.  WE NOTED, HOWEVER, THE ABSENCE OF SERB CHILDREN. 
PER REF EMAIL, THE NEXT STEP IN PRIZREN SHOULD BE TO 
INCORPORATE SERB CHILDREN IN THE PROGRAM ALONG WITH THE 
ALBANIANS, TURKS AND THE BOSNIACS CURRENTLY ENROLLED IN THE 
PRIZREN NORMAL SCHOOL. 
 
¶6.  THE TRIP CONCLUDED WITH A LUNCH HOSTED BY COMKFOR LTG 
FABIO MINI FOR ADMIRAL JOHNSON, AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON, AND 
NATIONAL COMMANDERS FROM THE ITALIAN, FRENCH AND GERMAN KFOR 
CONTINGENTS.  GENERAL MINI HAD VISITED WITH CATHOLIC BISHOP 
MARKO SOPI (WHOSE APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATION IS CENTERED ON 
PRIZREN). GENERAL MINI TOLD US HE HAD URGED BISHOP SOPI TO 
INVOLVE HIMSELF MORE PUBLICLY IN PROMOTING SERB RETURNS. 
MINI HOPED THAT SOPI WOULD VISIT A SERB ORTHODOX CHURCH OR 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        VATICA  06156  02 OF 02  301354Z 
MONASTERY, AS A SYMBOL OF RECONCILIATION, BUT TO NO AVAIL. 
MINI URGED AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON TO TAKE THIS UP WITH 
CONTACTS IN THE HOLY SEE.  THE AMBASSADOR PLEDGED TO DO SO 
AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
¶7.  AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON/EMBASSY VATICAN WOULD LIKE TO 
CONVEY OUR GRATITUDE FOR THE OUTSTANDING BRIEFINGS AND 
SUPPORT OFFERED BY AMBASSADORS BOND AND BUTLER AND THEIR 
STAFFS, AND BY THE STAFF AT USOP.  WE WILL FOLLOW UP WITH 
THE HOLY SEE TO URGE GREATER ENGAGEMENT TO PROMOTE 
RECONCILIATION IN BOTH BOSNIA AND KOSOVO.  POPE JOHN PAUL II 
IS PREOCCUPIED WITH A POSSIBLE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS 
DEVELOPING FROM THE U.S.-LED WAR ON TERRORISM, THUS THE HOLY 
SEE WILL WANT TO DO EVERYTHING IN ITS POWER TO ENSURE THAT 
RECONCILIATION MAKES PROGRESS IN THE BALKANS AS A POSITIVE 
EXAMPLE TO THE WORLD.  AS DISCUSSED WITH EMBASSY SARAJEVO 
AND USOP, WE WILL BROACH WITH THE VATICAN THE POSSIBILITY OF 
AN OFFICIAL VATICAN DELEGATION TO BOSNIA ATTEND THE OPENING 
OF A REBUILT MOSQUE AS WELL AS MEANS TO ENERGIZE BISHOP SOPI 
TO PROMOTE SERB RETURNS IN KOSOVO. 
NICHOLSON 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
> 
 

 2002VATICA06156 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED