Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pristina does not allow Nikolic to visit Gracanica

PRISTINA - Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci stated that the Kosovo institutions did not allow Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic to visit Gracanica Monastery to attend the Orthodox Christmas liturgy and that the decision was adopted after consultations with international partners.

The visit of Serbian officials to Kosovo will be possible only after Kosovo leaders are allowed to visit Albanians in the Presevo Valley, southern central Serbia, Kuci said late on Friday as reported by the Albanian-language daily Express. President Nikolic severely condemned the incapability of EULEX to respond to the request he filed to EULEX on December to attend the Christmas liturgy in the Gracanica Monastery on January 7. 

 This proves that the EU mission is not status neutral and capable of guaranteeing anyone's security in Kosovo-Metohija, the president said. “The limitation of freedom of movement is a blatant violation of basic human rights defined by the UN Charter, and it is unacceptable from the viewpoint of civilization values that the EU advocates,” Nikolic said. 

 Commenting on such statements, EULEX Spokesperson Irina Gudeljevic said that there is already an agreed procedure concerning visits to Kosovo by Serbian officials, and added that EULEX is not a part of this procedure. Serbian president's adviser Marko Djuric said on Friday the decision by the provisional government in Pristina to prevent Nikolic from attending the Christmas service in the Gracanica Monastery is a message of lack of tolerance and a very negative signal ahead of the resumption of the talks between Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels. 

"The Gracanica monastery is part of the UNESCO heritage, and the EU through its mission, EULEX, is responsible for ensuring religious and all basic human and citizen rights for all people, including freedom of movement," Djuric noted. Photo Tanjug, S. Radovanovic

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