Jewish Leader Joins French Official on Interfaith Mission to Yugoslavia

The head of the European Jewish Congress accompanied a French Cabinet minister this week on a peace mission to Yugoslavia that is an outgrowth of interfaith efforts initiated by the congress in November.

Humanitarian Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner asked Kahn Jean to join him and to continue efforts undertaken by the World Jewish Congress to foster peace in war-torn Yugoslavia.

On Monday, Kahn and the other members of the interfaith group went to Sarajevo, the capital of the republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the Jewish leader paid homage at a monument to the Yugoslav Jews killed during the Holocaust by the Nazis and their Ustashi Croatian allies.

There, Kahn also lashed out against the anti-Semitic writings of Croatia’s current president, Franjo Tudjman, which have recently appeared in various publications.

The interfaith group, which comprised Catholics, Protestants and Moslems, continued to Dubrovnik without Kahn. He returned to Paris rather than go to the war-ravaged Croatian city, so as not to indicate a preference for either Serbs or Croats.

Serge Cwajgenbaum, secretary-general of the EJC, said that had Kahn accompanied the group to Dubrovnik, he “would have had to visit a Serbian city, too, turning this trip into an awkward expedition, while Sarajevo can be considered neutral ground.”

In November, the heads of Serbia and Croatia agreed to attend a peace conference sponsored by the interfaith group. Although no date has been set for such a conference, it is believed it would take place in Paris.

The members of the interreligious group broached the idea for the conference in Belgrade, where they met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and in Zagreb, where they met with Tudjman.

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