Russian Orthodox Church delegation meets with EU and NATO

During its recent meetings with the EU and NATO the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church raised the problem of the Kaliningrad region (a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea) and the situation of Kosovo's Serb population. The Russian Orthodox Church's communications service reported on Thursday that the delegation which was headed by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Foreign Church Relations Department, met with high-ranking representatives of the European Union and NATO structures on June 18 and 19 in Brussels.

Metropolitan Kirill also raised the issue of the position of the population of the Kaliningrad region in view of the European Union's enlargement during his conversations with Michael Wenninger, head of the department for dialogue with religions and humanism of the group of political advisers of the European Commission's Chairman, with leaders and deputies of the European parliament, as well as a number of members of various EU structures. The participants in these meetings discussed the prospects of the co-existence of various church-state relation models.

The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church proposed that the main causes of conflicts in Europe and elsewhere in the world, the roads of appeasement and prevention of these conflicts be given a more thorough study. The Russian Orthodox delegates expressed "readiness to help build an all-European security architecture that would take into account the interests, traditions and social arrangement of all countries of the continent." At meetings with NATO representatives Metropolitan Kirill expressed concern over the position of the Serb population of Kosovo, the destruction of Orthodox churches and shrines in the province and the growing ethnic dissociation in the Balkans.

On NATO's side the meetings were attended by NATO Secretary-General Alessandro Minuto Rizzi, by Monique Tuffelli-Pierre, head of NATO's foreign partner relations department, Jamie Shea, director of NATO's information and press bureau and a number of other members of NATO's central apparatus.

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