Serbia: Church rejects any proposal that would harm Serbia’s sovereign rights in Kosovo

Serbia: Church rejects any proposal that would harm Serbia’s sovereign rights in Kosovo

The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) rejects any proposal or idea that would result in the secession of part of Kosovo from Serbia. This is stated in a communiqué issued by the SPC Summit that urgently convened to address the Kosovo issue.

“The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church reiterates its unwavering and united position that the complete sovereignty and integrity of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohi, which is enshrined in its Constitution and resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council (1999), should not be called into question at all costs” the Synod said in its decision.

“For the Church, Kosovo is not just a political issue which State authorities have the monopoly of solving, but rather and primarily an issue of survival for the faithful, the clergy, the monks and a place of sacred monuments without which we would not be who we are”, the Church’s communiqué noted. This message is widely seen as a strong warning to Serbia’s political leadership that the SPC does not intend to remain a mere observer of developments in the Kosovo issue.

The communiqué criticizes the view expressed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic favoring a definitive resolution of the issue with a “delimitation between Albanians and Serbs”.

“Of particular concern is the fact that – under the guise of so-called” delimitation between Serbs and Albanians “- there is an increased probability of secession of the largest and most important part – if not all – of Kosovo from Serbia, and its recognition as part of an independent state or even as the so called Great Albania. The consequences of such a decision would be tragic for the survival of our people and our holy places. In this case, the majority of Serbs, without adequate protection and security, would be forced to emigrate. Thus, with even greater intensity than today, a pure ethnic Albanian society would be formed and all the traces of our historical existence would be eroded,” the Church of Serbia warns.

The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) says it does not advocate maintaining this “frozen conflict”, however, it does not propose any concrete solution. The Church is dissatisfied with the fact that from 2007 until today, the political leadership did not formally invite it to express its views and to present the situation in Kosovo. The communiqué refers to the difficult conditions for Serb survival in Kosovo, Pristina’s behavior is being denounced along with every effort and pressure by the international community to seek a solution that – it is believed – would be devastating to Serbs under the current conditions.

The SPC’s Holy Synod points out that the continuation of talks between Belgrade and Pristina should not continue unless the conditions for the return of the Serbs removed from Kosovo have been created and protection of their property and the return of property seized by Albanians is guaranteed. “Without these conditions participation in the dialogue would mean that ethnic cleansing is accepted as a fait accompli,” the communiqué said.

It is worth noting that the communiqué of the SPC Summit on Kosovo was released yesterday, following an announcement of the start of a new round of talks between the Serbian and Kosovo Presidents, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci. The two presidents meet today in Brussels as part of the process of resolving the Kosovo issue under the auspices of the European Union./IBNA