Public Statement Issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops on the Latest Developments in Kosovo and Metohija

During its extraordinary session held at the Patriarchy on the 17th of February 2008, the following statement on the latest developments in Kosovo and Metohija was issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, aimed at the national and international public:

Just like uncountable times before, the Church is announcing once more today, that Kosovo and Metohija was and must remain an integral part of Serbia, in accordance to the Charter of the United Nations, Security Council Resolution 1244, as well as according to all relevant international conventions on human rights, the rights of peoples and on the inviolability of internationally recognized borders. Any solution other than that reprents a violation of God's justice and of human justice, it represents an act of violence with long-term repercussions, both for the Balkans and the whole of Europe. All internationally recognized and ratified conventions, which have not been revoked up until now, starting from the Agreement concluded in 1913, the international resolutions dated 1918 and 1945, up until UN Security Council Resolution 1244 adopted in 1999, and the recent acceptance into UN membership of integral Serbia, all confirm that excluding Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia represents a form of violence equal only to the periods of occupation and tyranny, which we hoped definetely belonged to the past of Europe and the world. In this particular case, this means granting new legitimacy to centuries of Ottoman violence with its impact on the entire region, as well as re-applying the fascist solution (that of Mussolini and Hitler) to the Kosovo issue dating back to the times of WWII, when Kosovo and Metohija were annexed to so-called Great Albania, when thousands of christian-orthodox Serbs were expelled from their secular homes, just like in 1999, with the objective of not having them return, ever.

We are deeply appalled by the fact that, according to the words of an American Ambassador, it was because of the presently announced illegitimate and illegal recognition on behalf of the governments of the United States of America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and others, of the self-declared Kosovo independence - Serbia and Montenegro were bombarded in the first place. Thus, the presumed protection of human and minority rights by using bomb attacks with the code name "Merciful Angel'', represented only a preparation for this final trampling on justice and tearing the heart out of Serbia's breast.

We expect the United Nations and the Security Council to urgently step out in the defense and the protection of the infringed human rights, the rights of religion and statehood of the Republic of Serbia, in the spirit of their very Charter and Resolution 1244, as well as its international obligations.