Saturday, May 4, 2013

Autonomy is acceptable, statehood isn’t, patriarch says

BELGRADE -- Any kind of autonomy for Kosovo is acceptable but de facto recognition of unilaterally declared independence is not, says Serbian Patriarch Irinej.

Patriarch Irinej (Beta, file)

Patriarch Irinej (Beta, file)
He told daily Večernje novosti that in terms of country's stability and even survival it was more important than anyone's stance to base a solution for Kosovo on the Constitution.

“We must not violate our own Constitution. The state authorities have our absolute support to find the best way for a common life of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija with respect of our top legal act,” the patriarch was quoted as saying.

According to him, the Serbian Orthodox Church’s position on Kosovo has been clear for a long time.

“It has remained unchanged throughout history and the state authorities, that are at least declaratively interested in it, have been familiar with it since the early 90s, when the crisis escalated,” Irinej pointed out.

Commenting on the EU integration issue, he said that by defending Kosovo, Serbia in fact defended values of the European civilization.

“As far as Europe is concerned, by defending Kosovo and Metohija, holy places that are there numerous as stars in the summer sky, I am convinced that we are defending the greatest values of the European civilization. It was the case in the past and it is the same today. Many European Christian intellectuals are aware of that. We are aware of the importance of Europe’s integration and we support Serbia’s participation in the process. But not at the price of renouncing a part of our state, our holy places and our people,” the patriarch stressed.

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