"The last Serbs are being driven out from Kosovo. I know what the situation is like there.There are no refugees coming back to Kosovo. And you can't guarantee them security and a civilized existence on that territory'', Vladimir Putin said in an interview to " Le Monde'', in occasion of his first visit to France as Prime Minister.
Mr. Putin reacted to a question related to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which the journalist called "separatis regions", by saying: "You said separatist? Why didn't you use this word about Kosovo?" "You cannot answer, and this is because you do not have an answer," Putin continued.
When the journalist remarked that "in Abkhazia, it was
the Georgians who had been ethnically cleansed, while in Kosovo, the situation
was quite the opposite since it was the Albanians that were exposed to this
practice", Putin answered that the two things were "not at all
opposite" and that "thousands of Serbs can't return to Kosovo. Hundreds of
thousands. It's exactly the same. Where did you see refugees coming back to
Kosovo? Nothing similar is happening" he continued. "Don't tell me
stories, I know what is really going on there."
From: Lj. Milinčić
Head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper, presented a message by Pope of Rome Benedict XVI to Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II on Thursday. He told the Patriarch he was glad to meet him and to hand over the Pontiff's message. The cardinal also voiced hope that the meeting would promote further contacts between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church. "The Orthodox-Catholic dialogue is necessary," Alexy II said. The two Churches have similar positions on many modern problems, among them morals, social and family relations, human rights and bio-ethics.
His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Hieronymus II met the president of PASOK, Mr. G. Papandreou, at his Parliament office. Their meeting lasted for more than an hour. After their meeting His Beatitude, referred to the collaboration he had with Mr. Papandreou as a Metropolite when Mr. Papandreou was the Minister of Education. He underlined that their collaboration was very fruitful. He also stated that he has recorded and continues to record the problems from the Church's point of view and added that the society and the Church will collaborate as far as culture and social welfare are concerned, since both the Church and society fight for man's wellbeing. He also stated that he was very satisfied with the conversation he had with Mr. Papandreou.
The Russian Orthodox Church is concerned that some missionaries don't observe the law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations as they conceal their confession, Interfax-Religion reports. "The Russian law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations clearly reads: "Name of the religious organization should contain information on its confession. Religious organization should indicate its full title when carrying out its activities," Vice-chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin writes in his Scraps essays published by the Pravoslavnaya Moskva paper.
According to a press release from the Greek Orthodox Church in the US, Archbishop Demetrios of America will travel to Russia on May 21, leading a delegation from the Archdiocese on an official visit to the Patriarchate of Moscow. This first official visit of an Archbishop of America to the Church of Russia comes after the invitation of Patriarch Alexy II, conveyed both in person by His Grace Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, the Administrator of the Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States, and in writing by His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the Head of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Accompanying the Archbishop on the seven day visit will be two Members of the Holy Eparchial Synod, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston and Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, as well as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Bishop Savas of Troas, Mr. Michael Jaharis, the Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, representatives of major Church organizations, and accompanying staff.