Foreign Minister Stier Visits Vatican

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One of the topics was canonization of Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac.

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Davor Ivo Stier met at the Vatican with the State Secretary for Relations with States Paul Gallagher and discussed the stability of Southeast Europe, with special reference to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the Holy See and Croatia share a common interest – the European course of the country and the equality of the three constituent peoples, reports on December 18, 2016.

Stier said that he also spoke with Gallagher about partners in the European Union and the international community, adding that the Vatican and Croatia both advocated for “a better understanding of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina” in order to achieve its European path. “The path is demanding and has a lot of challenges, but it also opens up certain opportunities: reform measures such as changes to the electoral legislation, which could be a good opportunity not only for Croats or Catholics, but for all constituent peoples”, said Stier.

He said that, in addition to Croatian efforts and the understanding of the Holy See, for this issue “it is extremely important that some other key factors of the international community also work on it”.

Stier informed his Vatican counterpart about the conclusions of the meeting of EU foreign ministers who on Tuesday concluded that “the equality of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats and all other citizens is the way to demonstrate the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina in meeting its obligations which it has in the context of approaching the European Union”. “It is important to point out that all 28 member states agreed to such formulation”, said Stier, noting that “more must be done”. “Of course, this job must be done by leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is their right and their responsibility, but it is important they have the support and encouragement of the international community”, said Stier.

Stier and Gallagher also discussed the issue of canonization of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac. Although there is speculation that it might happen during 2018, Stier said that there was no discussion on any deadlines. He pointed out that the mixed Catholic-Orthodox commission has until the summer to complete its work, although the process of canonization does not depend on it. “This is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. We can only say that the day will certainly be a happy day for all the people for whom Stepinac and his life’s work are a model for their commitment to freedom and human dignity”, said Stier.

Stier also met with Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and added that the visit confirmed close cooperation between Croatia and the Holy See. Minister Stier also briefly met with Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State from 1991 to 2006, during the tenure of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

In January 2017, Croatia and the Vatican will mark the 25th anniversary of the recognition of Croatia’s independence and establishment of diplomatic relations.

While in Rome, Foreign Minister Stier also met with the new Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano.


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