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Sunday, April 4, 1999 Published at 05:19 GMT 06:19 UK

World: Europe

Pope to renew peace call

The Pope has described the killing in Kosovo as an insult to Christ

By David Willey in Rome

Pope John Paul is expected to renew his call for peace in the Balkans when he delivers his traditional Easter Sunday speech.

The Pope celebrated the first Mass of Easter before a packed congregation in St Peter's Basilica in Rome on Saturday.

[ image: The Pope will address both sides in the Balkans conflict]
The Pope will address both sides in the Balkans conflict
He looked rather tired after taking part in the exhausting ceremonies of Holy Week and is clearly disappointed that his calls for peace, or even an Easter truce in Yugoslavia, have been disregarded both by Nato and by President Slobadan Milosevic.

At midday on Sunday the Pope will deliver his traditional Easter Day message to the city of Rome and to the world.

Peace march

On Good Friday he said: "Christ is despised and rejected in those reviled and killed in the war in Kosovo."

Tens of thousands of Italian pacifists, including church groups and Greens, took part in a Communist-led peace march through the centre of Rome.

Earlier in the day the Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema had talks at the Vatican with the Pope's deputy, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, to discuss humanitarian relief efforts and ways in which a dialogue between the warring parties might be started up again.

Prime Minister D'Alema will be spending Easter Sunday in Albania, visiting refugee camps being organised there with the help of Italian volunteers.

Italy is mounting a major aid programme to refugees from Kosovo inside Albania in order to try to deter a second mass exodus into the EU across the southern Adriatic Sea.

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