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1999 NCC News Archives

CWSW Unit Committee Calls on NATO to Cease Bombing in Kosovo

March 31, 1999, Update: The NCC's General Secretary has transmitted CWSW's concerns to U.S. President Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

March 25, 1999, ATLANTA, Ga. -- Addressing the dual moral dilemma of a state attacking its own people and international NATO forces attacking that state, the Church World Service Unit Committee of the National Council of Churches (NCC) is calling on NATO to cease the bombing in Kosovo and for the United Nations Security Council to pursue a peaceful settlement to the longstanding conflict.

Church World Service (CWS) is the humanitarian assistance ministry of the National Council of Churches (NCCU), working in over 80 countries around the world in disaster relief, human development, and refugee assistance. The NCC is the nation's preeminent ecumenical organization, comprised of 35 member communions to which 52 million people belong.

The statement on Kosovo was adopted unanimously by the CWS Unit Committee during its biannual meeting held this time in Atlanta. In presenting the proposed communiqué, Mia Adjali, a United Methodist who chairs the NCC's International Justice and Human Rights Committee and is a member of the CWS Unit Committee, emphasized the importance of bringing the UN Security Council into the search for a non-military solution to the conflict in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Unit Committee members noted their disgust with the repeated bragging of many in the U.S. about the capacities of the new trillion dollar bomber, especially in light of the $1.6 billion dollars owed by the U.S. to the United Nations.

"To show that airplane over and over and say that it's a weapon for peace, for Clinton to say that it's a bombing for peace, is something we as Christians can't accept," Ms. Adjali said. "I feel like they are just testing weaponry."

The full statement follows.

Statement on Kosovo
By the NCC's Church World Service and Witness Unit Committee
Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia
March 25, 1999

"Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)

The Unit Committee of Church World Service and Witness of the National Council of the Churches of Christ meeting on March 25, 1999 witnesses with horror the attacks by the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on its own people and villages and the bombing in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) by NATO forces involving sizable contingents of United States and British military personnel and equipment. The member communions of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCC) seek to be faithful to the call of God through Jesus Christ to struggle for peace with justice. The Church World Service and Witness (CWSW) Unit Committee asks the General Secretary of the NCCC to convey the following concerns to the appropriate bodies.

The path to a negotiated, peaceful settlement of the conflict has failed to this point due to a number of circumstances including the following:

Peace in Kosovo and the FRY will be realized as the residents are given the opportunity to engage in the resolution of the issues which have become barriers to peace with justice. We stand with the people of good will in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia who seek peace and reconciliation. No true resolution of the issues can be achieved by the application of force.

We find hope in past meetings of representatives of the religious bodies in Kosovo and urge continued support of the efforts of religious leaders to seek reconciliation in Kosovo.

We call upon CWSW and the NCCC through the office of the General Secretary to communicate with the appropriate bodies the following concerns:

-end-

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