Gen Skiaker in Decani
KFOR Commander gen. Skiaker visited Decani Monastery, Aug 30 2001
"I see the Monastery as a symbol of humanity
and of resistance against violence."

Delivered by Squadron Leader Roy Brown
KFOR Spokesman

# 08-38 PRISTINA, Kosovo - Thursday 30 Aug 2001

COMKFOR Makes Second visit to Decane Monastary

Today, 30 August, COMKFOR LTG Skiaker visited Visoki Decani Monastery for the second time. COMKFOR had an extended meeting with Abbot Father Teodosije and Father Sava who informed him about the situation of the monastery. COMKFOR also received a briefing by the Commander of Task Force Sauro, Colonel Corcione. The Italian Task Force provides security for the monastery as part of its mission. Recently, it has initiated infrastructure projects benefiting both the monastery and the local population.

Following his visit, COMKFOR made the following statement:

"Visoki Decani is one of the outstanding cultural monuments of Kosovo. It is an important religious site for the Serbs, but it is also part of heritage of Kosovo and should be treasured by all.

During the fighting in 1999, the monks of Visoki Decani saved Kosovo-Albanians from persecution by Serb forces. I see the monastery as a symbol of humanity and of resistance against violence.

I am pleased that a dialogue between the monastery and the local leaders in Decani has recently begun and that this has been supported by KFOR's Italian contingent.

I appeal to all political and religious leaders in Kosovo to strengthen the dialogues between communities and to distance themselves from the politics of hatred. The international community expects that the leaders of all groups in Kosovo take responsibility and that they will be an example to their followers.

It is my hope that Visoki Decani can become a place of reconciliation that will send a signal throughout Kosovo.

KFOR will continue to provide security at Visoki Decani as long as this is necessary. Any attacks or threats will meet a robust response. But I hope that the day will come when monasteries in Kosovo no longer require protection by soldiers."

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