The Vatican has called for "prudence and moderation" after the province of Kosovo declared independence on Sunday.
The call comes amid fears of violence as the Serbian Orthodox Church has urged the UN to protect the Christian minority in the breakaway province.
Reuters and Catholic World News reports the Holy See urged politicians in Kosovo to show "decisive and concrete commitment to ward off extremist reactions and violence", Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.
"The respect of all ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in Kosovo must be ensured," Fr Lombardi said.
"The Holy Father continues to look with affection at the people of Kosovo and Serbia, is close to them and is praying at this crucial moment of their history," the statement said.
Vatican calls for moderation in Kosovo, Serbia (Reuters 18/02/08)
Orthodox fear violence in Kosovo (Catholic World News 18/02/08)