GOARCH - April 7, 1999

Archbishop Spyridon Calls for Reciprocal Actions by NATO
to Serbian Cease Fire and Return of Servicemen

New York, NY - His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America has issued the following statement today on the recent developments in the continuing conflict in Yugoslavia:

The humanitarian gesture of President Milosevic and the Serbian people in declaring a unilateral cease fire and in the coming release of the American Servicemen to the government of Cyprus compels the NATO alliance to honor a suspension of hostilities during the Orthodox Christian celebration of Pascha. This opportunity for renewing a political and diplomatic settlement to the very complex problems in Kosovo should not be missed. There is now every reason for NATO to consider honoring the Serbian cease fire, and to put a halt to the continuing bloodshed and loss of life. Let there be an echo among the nations of NATO, that resounds with a gesture of peace and good will.

We commend President Kyprianou and the government of Cyprus for their efforts on behalf of the captured American Servicemen. I call upon President Clinton and the leaders of NATO to seize this moment as an opening for peace and negotiated settlement. The further escalation of this conflict can only serve to exacerbate the human tragedy of violence, displacement and the inevitable hatreds that will be spawned by the forces of death and destruction. Especially now, in the midst of the Orthodox Christian Holy Week, God has given to the world a way out of the madness that threatens to engulf us. May we perceive His mercy in the midst of chaos and confusion, and find the will to honor the Prince of Peace and begin anew the work of peace.

   April 7, 1999 ]