July 2, 2003
ERP KIM Newsletter 02-07-03
ARSONISTS CAN'T BE
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)*.
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.
*Kosovo protection Corps (or in
Albanian version: Kosovo defensive troops) is an organization which
evolved from the "Kosovo Liberation Army" (UCK).
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