Les monastères orthodoxes Serbes lancent un appel contre une probable future partition du Kosovo
Serbian clerics from 20 monasteries in Kosovo have said in an appeal that calls for the partition of Kosovo would put the country's Serbian community in danger, adding that Kosovo remains an “inalienable part of Serbia”.
“This appeal ... is above all a loud cry from those who live in Kosovo and Metohija, and who, before God and their own conscience, have a responsibility towards the faithful people,” the appeal published on Sunday said.
It follows a similar appeal sent in May to the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which urged the Serbian government to ensure Kosovo remains part of Serbia, and not to agree to any territorial exchanges.
The mainly ethnic Albanian former province of Serbia declared independence in 2008, which most EU states and the US soon acknowledged.
However, Serbia maintains that Kosovo remains part of its own territory, and Belgrade exercises de facto control over the far north of Kosovo, where Serbs are in the majority.
EU-mediated talks between Belgrade and Pristina have been continuing for some years, aimed at normalising relations.
The Serbian clerics underlined on Sunday that Kosovo, “with its 1,500 Serbian Orthodox Christian monasteries, churches, endowments and monuments of Serbian culture, is an inalienable part of Serbia”.
Referring to recent talk of an ethnic partition as part of a final resolution to the dispute over Kosovo's status, they also added that any potential division, exchange of land or “delimitation between Serbs and Albanians in the sovereign territory of Serbia” would leave Kosovo Serbs “to the mercy of those who had not shown till now their readiness to respect our rights”.
“In such an unpleasant development of events, there is a great danger that we will be exposed to violence similar to that of March 2004, or that, under pressure and quiet terror, we will be forced to undergo an exodus,” they said, referring to anti-Serbian riots that rocked Kosovo that year.