July 2, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 02-07-03

St Apostle Mark - Vandalized by UCK

St Sava's Icon Desecrated by UCK terrorists

Many shrines in Kosovo and Metohija
bear traces of the KLA (UCK), whose members today wear uniforms
of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC)

ARSONISTS CAN'T BE FIREFIGHTERS
Communiqué of the Serbian Orthodox Church on the proposal of Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi that protection of monasteries and churches in the Province be turned over to the Kosovo Protection Corps


Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija
SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

PRESS RELEASE

GRACANICA
02 JULY 2003

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly opposes the proposal of Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi that KFOR turn over the protection on endangered Serbian Orthodox monasteries and churches in the southern Serbian Province to the Albanian run Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC)*.

This proposal represents an unprecedented act of hypocrisy because the former members of the KLA, who today comprise most of the KPC, were the ones who destroyed or heavily damaged more than 100 Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija after June 1999. Many members of the KPC actively participated in the expulsion, torture and murder of Serb and non-Albanian civilians after the war, as evidenced by indictments against several leading figures of the KPC. According to the Pristina daily "Koha Ditore" Rexhepi made this proposal directly to NATO secretary general George Robertson during a recent visit to Pristina by a senior delegation of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) without any prior consultations with members of the Serbian Orthodox Church or the Return Coalition (Povratak).

Rexhepi's proposal is an attempt to give the KPC a military role at any price, even though Lord Robertson himself stated in Pristina that the KPC cannot be involved in security matters nor evolve into some sort of "Kosovo army." This proposal also is in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which places the protection of Serb religious and cultural-historical monuments directly under the jurisdiction of "personnel of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)" (Annex 2, paragraph 6).

It is the opinion of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija that until the political and security situation in Kosovo and Metohija has stabilized, the protection of endangered Orthodox churches and monasteries in the Province can only be carried out by the members of KFOR who have provided protection to date. The only possible alternative to KFOR troops would be Serbia and Montenegro security forces, as per UNSC Res. 1244. The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija also opposes the participation of the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) in the protection of Orthodox shrines because of the general lack of trust among the Serb population in this organization, many of whose ethnic Albanians members are former members of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army.

After barbaric destruction and looting of over one hundred Serbian Orthodox churches, the desecration of dozens of Orthodox cemeteries and four years of unending ethnic terror against the Serb community and its Church, the Kosovo Albanians have no moral right to ask that precious Serb cultural monuments be placed under the protection of any Albanian institution in Kosovo and Metohija. This is especially true of the Kosovo Protection Corps, which represents a dangerous carryover from the past marked by corruption, participation of its members in the activities of the so-called Albanian National Army (ANA)** and other illegal activities, and a serious factor of regional instability.

With respect to the above mentioned and absolutely unacceptable proposal of Rexhepi, as well as the serious concern of the Serbian Orthodox Church that cutbacks in KFOR forces will negatively affect the security of endangered shrines and the Serb community as a whole, Bishop Artemije will address a separate letter directly to Lord Robertson and the leadership of the NATO alliance.

(end)

*Kosovo protection Corps (or in Albanian version: Kosovo defensive troops) is an organization which evolved from the "Kosovo Liberation Army" (UCK).

** Albanian National Army (ANA) or (AKSH in Albanian) is an extremist ethnic Albanian organization fighting for creation of Greater Albania. It was officially proclaimed a terrorist organization by the Special representative of the UN Secretary General, Michael Steiner in April 2003.


ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. ERP KIM Info Service works in cooperation with www.serbian-translation.com as well as the Kosovo Daily News (KDN) News List

Disclaimer:
The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqués or news reports by the Diocese are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Serbian Orthodox Church

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