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Rome Reports

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Pope meets with president of Serbia, discusses complicated situation in the Balkans

Moments before meeting the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, the pope was gathered in silence, praying.

Serbia is one of the central countries in the Balkan region of Europe, a zone that has not yet healed from the wars in the '90s.

During his meeting, one of his main points was the role of religion in forging the peace and integration of Serbia into the European Union. It is one of President Vučić's priorities.

The tone of the meeting was very cordial. The pope gave him a medallion of his pontificate and his Message of Peace for this year, which Pope Francis signed this morning for the president. He also gave him his principal magisterial documents, which he piled on the table.

This is a library. There are things written about family, youth, and holiness.

Thank you. God bless you.

Serbia's government published an official message on its website at the end of the meeting. It thanked the Holy See for the tact it demonstrated in face of Serbia and Kosovo's tensions.

Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence in 2008. Although Pope Francis met with its president in 2016 and 2017, the Vatican has not recognized its independence.

Serbia also thanked the pope for the consideration he has shown the countries of Eastern Europe. During his pontificate he has visited Bosnia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria and North Macedonia.

Javier Romero Bedate
T: Rachel D.