Kosovo independence a blow to international law - Moscow Patriarchate

Moscow, February 18, Interfax - Kosovan Albanians need to remember that you cannot build a peaceful and successful life at somebody else's expense, the Russian Orthodox Church said.

"Certainly, the Albanians who live in Kosovo like any other people, who at any moment in history can wish for the life of peace and dignity. But you cannot build such a life at the expense of others," deputy chief of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said, commenting on the unilateral declaration of Kosovan independence.

This event is a breach of the international law, "one of the most crucial principles of which is the inviolability of territorial integrity of the state," the priest said.

"This principle in the international legal system is not inferior to the idea of human rights, and an attempt to otherwise interpret international law is biased," Fr. Vsevolod said.

That the global community has failed to prevent this breach by ceding to forceful and political pressure "is the most serious blow to the very foundation of the legal system of international relations," he said.

Most non-Albanians have left Kosovo, and hundreds of churches, which are part of world cultural heritage, have been destroyed and vandalized, and "this was accompanied by outrageous nationalist propaganda," the priest said.

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II spoke of these instances on many occasions in public speeches and during meetings with high officials from various countries, Fr. Vsevolod said.

Hopefully, the remaining Serbs and other non-Albanians will not have to leave their homes and their spiritual and cultural legacy will not be disappear from the surface of the globe, the Church official said.

"I would like to hope that the Serb Orthodox Church which has an old spiritual center in this province will continue normal life in Kosovo, by developing its mission and service," Fr. Vsevolod said.

However, "previous events leave little hope for this," he added.

Nevertheless, all countries of the world today must do everything they can to make sure that people of various ethnicities can live a free and peaceful life in Kosovo and have an opportunity to fulfill their hopes and expectations and to choose for themselves a lifestyle both on a governmental level and on an ethnic community level.

"When one party to a conflict feels injustice and is suffering, the conflict cannot be deemed resolved, and this should be clear to all those who make decisions in Kosovo itself and in countries which are trying to take responsibility for the people who live there."

Source: www.interfax-religion.com