INTERRELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF KOSOVO

PRESS STATEMENT

One of the last attempts to prevent the war, Meeting in Vienna March 99
(Grand Mufti Morina, Bishop Artemije, Bishop Mark, in Vienna March 1999)


Pristina, April 13, 2000


We, as the responsible religious leaders in Kosovo, express our deepest gratitude for the visit of our brother religious leaders from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Kosovo on 11-13 April 2000, which followed our visit to Sarajevo from 7-9. February. Appreciating their experiences we have made decision in Pristina today on 13th of April, to establish The Interreligious Council of Kosovo.

During three days of visit of the Interreligious Council of BiH, we have together visited important sites for each of our communities in Peja/Pec, Decani, Prizren, Gracanica and Pristina. This tour has allowed our guests to see the reality of Kosovo both the good and the bad.

We have used the occasion of their visit to build on the very positive steps we took in Sarajevo when we signed our "Statement of Shared Moral Commitment." Our discussions today have focused on how we as the religious leaders in Kosovo can take concrete steps together to work for a better future for all people of Kosovo. To this end, we express our common agreement on the following points:

1. With one united voice we once again strongly condemn all acts of violence and all violations of basic human rights. The acts that have happened and that continue to happen against innocent persons are evil and cannot be condoned in any way by any of our respective religious traditions.

2. We commit ourselves today to pursue more active cooperation as religious leaders and among our communities. We will work to develop our own structures and means for cooperation through the Interreligious council of Kosovo. In addition we are encouraged by the fact that we will all be participating in the Kosovo Transitional Council and look forward to using that venue to further our work together.

3. Together we support the building of strong local democratic institutions that will continue to ensure security, peace, and wellbeing for all inhabitants of Kosovo. We look to the international community to provide the necessary support for the inhabitants of Kosovo to achieve this goal.

4. We commit ourselves to work together to rebuild the many destroyed and damaged religious buildings in Kosovo, and we appeal to our friends and partners in various international agencies to assist us with the necessary resources to accomplish this essential task.

5. Finally, we appeal to the international community to work harder on finding and resolving the situation of all the prisoners, missing and abducted persons whose unknown fate remains as one of the deepest wounds of our recent tragic conflicts.

Once again, we thank our distinguished guests from Bosnia-Herzegovina for their visit and their encouragement, as well as to the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) for its support and its continued commitment to assist us in this process. We look forward to continuing with our close, brotherly relations and with God's help we will be able to work together to build a stronger future for all people in our blessed land.

Islamic Community
Mufti of Kosovo - Dr. REXHEP BOJA

Serbian Orthodox Church
Bishop of Raska and Prizren - Dr. ARTEMIJE RADOSAVLJEVIC

Roman Catholic Church
Bishop of Prizren - MARKO SOPI