Deep concern of the Church dignitaries, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade
Public Statement Issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops on the Latest Developments in Kosovo and Metohija
During an extraordinary session held at the Patriarchy on 17 February 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 like uncountable times before, the Church is announcing once more today, that Kosovo and Metohija was and must remain an integral part of Serbia, in accordance to 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 on the inviolability of internationally recognised borders. Any solution other than that represents a violation of God’s justice and of human justice; it represents an act of violence with long-term repercussions, both for the Balkans and the whole of Europe. All internationally recognised and ratified conventions, which have not been revoked up until now, starting from the Agreement concluded in 1913, the international resolutions dated 1918 and 1945, up until UN Security Council Resolution 1244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, which we hoped definitely belonged to the past of Europe and the world. 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 dating back to the times of World War II, when Kosovo and Metohija were annexed to so-called Great Albania, when thousands of Orthodox Christian Serbs were expelled from their secular homes, just like in 1999, with the objective of not having them return, ever.
We are deeply appalled by the fact that, according to the words of an American Ambassador, it was because of the presently announced illegitimate and illegal recognition on behalf of the governments of the United States of America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and others, of the self-declared Kosovo independence that Serbia and Montenegro were bombarded in the first place. Thus, the presumed protection of human and minority rights by using bomb attacks with the code name “Merciful Angel”, represented only a preparation for this final trampling on justice and tearing the heart out of Serbia’s breast.
We expect the United Nations and the Security Council to urgently step out in the defence and the protection of the infringed human rights, the rights of religion and statehood of the Republic of Serbia, in the spirit of their very Charter and Resolution 1244, as well as its international obligations.
Statement by President of Serbia Boris Tadic:
Serbia will never recognise Kosovo-Metohija’s independence
Serbian President Boris Tadic stated today that Serbia will make responsible moves and will do everything in its power to annul the self-willing and illegal declaration of Kosovo’s independence that Serbia will never recognise.
Serbia will never recognise Kosovo-Metohija’s independence. Serbia has reacted and will react with all peaceful, diplomatic, and legal means for this act of interim Kosovo institutions to be annulled. Serbia requests from international institutions in Kosovo to declare this act null and void effective immediately, as it is against basic principles of international law, the President said.
Tadic pointed out that people’s lives and their safety are most important at this moment and urged KFOR and UNMIK to provide safety for Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo, to protect their homes and all our sacred places. The President stressed that responsibility for every life in Kosovo-Metohija lies on them.
He noted that Serbia would take this situation peacefully, with dignity, and in a civilised manner.
Serbia will not use violence and that is the only approach that can allow us to continue our legitimate fight for preservation of the country’s integrity, and Serbia will be persistent in this diplomatic battle, defending its interests and international law no matter how much it takes and until the illegitimate act on independence is fully out of effect, the President concluded.
17 February 2008
Latest news from Belgrade (News agencies)
President Tadic has arrived in New York, where he will attend an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council convened on the request of Serbia and Russia. The President of Serbia will request that the UN Security Council annul the Declaration of Independence of the breakaway Serbian province.
The Serbian Parliament is meeting this evening to officially approve the Goverment of Serbia’s decision on the annulment of Kosovo’s independence. The Serbian Ministry of Interior has issued police warrants against Kosovo political leaders who took part in a proclamation of a quasi-state in Kosovo. The Serbian Government is expected to activate a series of measures (economic, political, etc) which will block Kosovo and prevent its access to international organisations. Serbbia requested an urgent meeting of OSCE on Tuesday, and asked for a special meeting of the Council of Europe. Against the countries which will probably recognise the breakaway Province as a state Serbia will take all possible legal measures available to it under international law, UN Charter, and the Helsinki Final Act. The Serbian Parliament majority and the majority of political leaders of Serbia are very strong in their position that Serbia can continue its path towards EU and Euro-Atlantic integrations only with Kosovo as an integral part (of the Serbian state). Recognition of the secession would practically freeze relations with EU countries for a long time.
Serbian leaders have called upon Kosovo Serbs to refrain from any contacts with the illegal authorities in Kosovo and the EU Mission, which is expected to be proclaimed illegal by Serbia in case it is deployed without a clear UN Security Council mandate.
Yesterday’s protests in Belgrade in front of US Embassy. In the following days, massive protests in Belgrade and other Serbian cities have been announced against the support of some Western countries for the illegal Albanian state in Kosovo.
Statement by Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica:
Proclamation of a Phoney state on Serbia’s territory
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica stressed that the unilateral declaration of a phoney state of Kosovo-Metohija today on Serbian territory is an unprecedented lawlessness that came as a result of the destructive, cruel, and immoral policy of force used by the US.
Dear citizens of Serbia:
Today, on 17 February 2008, a phoney state of Kosovo has been declared in the part of Serbia’s territory that is under military control of NATO. This unprecedented lawlessness came because of destructive, cruel, and immoral policies of force implemented by the USA. This act informs the whole world that America prefers force to the UN Charter, and it is ready to wilfully, unscrupulously, and violently jeopardise international order for the sake of its own military interests.
Preferring violence to the principles of international law, the US used stark force, and it humiliated and forced the EU to break the principles that the very EU is based on. America forced Europe to follow it in unprecedented violence demonstrated against Serbia. Europe has bent its head today and that is why it will be responsible for the far-reaching consequences that this violence will have on the European and world order. This act has above all humiliated the EU, not Serbia. Serbia refuses to be dishonoured, for it firmly respects law and order, and it refuses to bow to brute force.
This unilateral proclamation of a phoney state under the patronage of the US and the EU represents the final act of policy of force that started with aggression and insane bombardment of Serbia, and then continued with the arrival of NATO troops in Kosovo-Metohija. Never before has the truth been clearer on the reason for Serbia being savagely destroyed with NATO bombs like it is clear today, on 17 February 2008. The real foundations of the phoney state of Kosovo are the bombs that NATO used to destroy Serbia. This is why the truth needs to be told that behind this phoney state are the military interests of NATO, which is also confirmed in Annex 11 of Ahtisaari’s plan. Only in that way could they create this phoney state, and it will forever remain phoney even if the Western countries sacrifice the whole world order and risk peace for its recognition.
The President of the US, who is responsible for this violence, and his European followers, will go down in black letters not only in Serbian history books, but also in the history of international law and world order that international law guarantees.
Rowdy crowd of ethnic Albanians in Pristina streets
We well know how dangerous, cruel, and blind the policy of force implemented by the US is. Nevertheless, knowing that, Serbia has resolutely and for the last time annulled all the decisions concerning the unilateral independence as well as all future acts pertaining from this illegal act. Serbia has also annulled the decision of the EU to illegally send its mission to the province, which was made as a result of Europe’s lack of power. With this decision, the Serbian government established the basis of a Serbian state and national programme for Kosovo-Metohija following (the unilateral declaration of independence on) 17 February 2008.
Citizens of Serbia, this phoney state, an (illegally declared) independent Kosovo on the territory of Serbia, does not and will never exist for Serbia. For Serbia, all Serbs, and all citizens in the province who respect our state are Serbian citizens enjoying full rights. That is why it is important that the laws and institutions of the Republic of Serbia are valid for them. As of today, we must show greater concern and solidarity with our people in Kosovo-Metohija. All ministries have been directed to work and provide considerably better living conditions, help create new jobs, and launch investments in the province. The state of Serbia will take greatest possible care about its each and every citizen in Kosovo-Metohija. And our ministers are with their people in the province today.
We warn that since the arrival of NATO troops in Kosovo-Metohija, many Serbs have been killed and exiled, whereas numerous houses, ancient monasteries, and churches have been burnt down. Since NATO came, too much evil and violence has been imposed upon Serbs. That is why new innocent victims, new exiles, and new destructions in Kosovo must not happen by any means. There was too much violence against Serbs and those who took on responsibility for security in the province must absolutely fulfil their obligations.
I wish to once again repeat that Serbia is an old state, that the Serbian nation is an old European nation. Through our centuries-long state-building history as nation, we experienced the evils that foreign force can impose. However, in our history, we are convinced even more of the force of law and justice and the values of freedom. Law, justice, and freedom will guide us until the province of Kosovo-Metohija is back to where it belongs, in the constitutional order of Serbia. Moreover, while the policy of force thinks it has triumphed today by creating a phoney state, millions of Serbs are thinking already of the day of freedom that must come. No one has ever managed to prevent the Serbian people from claiming its freedom. All that we cannot do today, new and better generations than us will do tomorrow. Kosovo is Serbia and it must always be like that.
Yesterday’s proclamation of Kosovo’s independence in Pristina with thousands of Albanian flags
Citizens of Serbia, we must show to the whole world together that we oppose the breaking up of our state and that we do not accept violent creation of a phoney state on our territory. By opposing the policy of violence that is being implemented upon Serbia, we must be united and state our views in support to our compatriots and citizens in Kosovo-Metohija. The government and parliamentary parties will together organise peaceful protests across Serbia, as well as a large protest in Belgrade. In these protests, our dignity must be (evident), (this is how we must oppose the) force against which we are fighting. We shall leave force to violators, who, by using it, disgraced themselves for all time; we shall show the power of law and justice, and we shall show how much we love and respect freedom and a free Serbia including our Kosovo-Metohija. As long as the Serbian people exist, Kosovo remains (a part of) Serbia.
17 February 2008
A few Serbian policemen were injured in attempts to prevent angry protestors from approaching the US Embassy in Belgrade
Serb protests at the administrative boundary of Kosovo Province
Serbian Army controlling access to Kosovo Province
There one has it. George W Bush has finally entangled himself in a trap of his own devising. The objective results of the action in Kosovo are clear to all disinterested observers. That there shall be a formal alliance between Serbia and Russia is clear. That Serbia shall be admitted to the SCO as a full member is also evident. There are also other, more subtle, effects of this action. The alliance between Russia and China shall be strengthened by this. The adherence of the smaller members of the SCO shall be tighter, as their leaders do not wish to become victims of American “democracy”.
Nevertheless, George W Bush shall rue a possible effect to his dying day. At present, Iran is an “observer” in the SCO. Anyone of consequence knows that it is a full member in all but name. It has not been admitted to full membership because Russia and China were cognizant of American feelings on the topic. Now, all bets are off. I believe it very probable that the Iranian president shall soon visit both Moscow and Beijing, and that Iran shall be elevated to full status as a member of the SCO with full public guarantees of its security against American aggression.
In addition, this shall drive New Delhi closer to Moscow. There are separatist movements in various places in India, and this means that India shall not be immune from American “export of democracy”. The neocons, and especially Condeleeza Rice, have served George W Bush poorly. Mr Bush is ignorant of anything beyond his limited world. Therefore, he was at the mercy of his neocon advisors.
His advisors truly believe that America cannot be stopped by anyone. The American forces are overstretched and tired due to overlong deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, two areas of no concern to the American national interest. There are no reserves left in the store-cupboard, and the whole world knows it. If any crisis erupts anywhere, there are no forces to be be sent due to George W. Bush’s short-sightedness and incompetence.
Serbia shall be backed unconditionally by Russia, and I, as an overseas Russian, support this wholeheartedly. America should know that the world wishes to be its friend, but, they shall not bow their heads before the violent export of “democracy” by the neocons.
May God preserve us.