Appeal Of Serbian Patriarch Pavle to the Secretary General of UN and its High Representatives in Bosnia And Herzegovina

His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle addressed today a letter to Mr. Kofi Anan, Secretary General of the United Nations, Lord Paddy Ashdown, High Representative of the UN for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to General Virgil L. Packett II, Commander-in-Chief of SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressing his deep dismay at some embarrassing events, which took place at Pale during the Christmas holidays, on 9 and 10 January 2004.

Namely, the peacekeeping soldiers of SFOR, searched the premises of the Church and rectory in Pale, the night of 10 and 11 January 2004, given the explanation that they were apprehending persons suspected of war crimes and their accomplices. In Patriarch Pavle's letter, among all is stated:

In the aftermath of a difficult and bloody war on these territories, our clergy and faithful desirously anticipate the days and years of peace and tranquillity. Such unpleasant and harsh measures on the part of SFOR, instead of creating an atmosphere of understanding and tolerance, disturb the Serbian Orthodox people and insult their sense of faith, dignity and security.

We kindly request that you undertake everything within your competence, so that the like is no longer repeated, and that our clergy and Serbian Orthodox people will come to experience the soldiers of SFOR not as their adversaries, but rather as persons of good will and good intentions, concerned with the preservation of peace as is desired by all,” is stated in the letter of the Serbian Patriarch addressed to the Secretary General of the United Nations and to the highest representatives of this world organization responsible for Bosnia and Herzegovina.