Athens News Agency
11 September

Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos had successive meetings on Monday with Yugoslavia's president and the Serbian prime minister.

Christodoulos, who is accompanied by clerics on his official visit to the Church of Serbia, praised President Vojislav Kostunica whom he described as "a man with spiritual interests." The Archbishop noted that Kostunica would strive for his country to join the family of European countries so as to give the message that Orthodox peoples are progressive.

Christodoulos referred to Greece's aid to Serbia, noting that Greece was the first and only country to condemn the bombardment of non-combatants. He also insinuated that "if we do away with religion and tradition we will end up last, capable only of serving the Europeans."

President Kostunica, having said that the Archbishop's visit was "a major event," noted that his first visit abroad in his capacity as president was to Greece and Mt Athos. Kostunica also referred to the suffering of the Serbian people these past years. At the same time he stressed the harmony existing between the Greeks and Serbs. The Yugoslav president bestowed on the Archbishop the medal of the Serbian Star.

Earlier, the Archbishop met with Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Christodoulos offered his congratulations over Yugoslavia's win in the men's European Basketball Championship, which was held in Turkey. He stressed that "The Serbs once again became winners and we hope that this will always occur on all levels."

On his part, Djindjic said that Greece set an example because it has democratic institutions, a stable economy and a harmonious cooperation between the State and the Church.

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