Monday, February 18, 2008

Statement of the Serbian Church on Kosovo

A public statement from the official website of the Serbian Orthodox Church:
During its extraordinary session held at the Patriarchate on February 17, 2008, the following statement on the latest developments in Kosovo and Metohija was issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, aimed at the national and international public:
Just as countless times before, the Church today once again declares that Kosovo and Metohija were and must remain an integral part of Serbia, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, Security Council Resolution 1244, as well as according to all relevant international conventions on human rights, the rights of peoples, and the inviolability of internationally recognized borders. Any other solution represents a violation of God's justice and human justice and represents an act of violence with long-term repercussions, both for the Balkans and all of Europe. All internationally recognized and ratified conventions, none of which have been revoked – starting with the Agreement concluded in 1913, the international resolutions dated 1918 and 1945, the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 adopted in 1999, and the recent acceptance into UN membership of integral Serbia – all confirm that excluding Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia represents a form of violence equal only to the periods of occupation and tyranny that we had hoped conclusively belonged to Europe and the world's past. In this particular case, this means granting new legitimacy to centuries of Ottoman violence, with its impact on the entire region, as well as re-applying the fascist solution (that of Mussolini and Hitler) to the Kosovo issue that dates back to the times of WWII, when Kosovo and Metohija were annexed to so-called Great Albania and thousands of Orthodox Christian Serbs were expelled from their secular homes, just as in 1999, with the objective of having them never return.

We are deeply appalled by the fact that, according to the words of an American Ambassador, Serbia and Montenegro were bombarded in the first place for the sake of the illegitimate and illegal self-declaration of Kosovo independence, which has recently been recognition by the governments of the United States of America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and others. Thus, the presumed protection of human and minority rights by using bomb attacks under the code name "Merciful Angel'' represented only a preparation for this final trampling on justice and excoriation from Serbia's breast.
We expect the United Nations and the Security Council to step out urgently in the defense and the protection of the infringed human rights, religious rights, and rights of statehood of the Republic of Serbia, in the spirit of their very Charter and Resolution 1244, as well as its international obligations.
NB: I have edited the English translation for the sake of clarity. The Serbian original is here.

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