Monday, March 18, 2013

Dacic confident that just solution can be reached

BELGRADE - Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic stated Sunday that he is confident that a just and fair solution for Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) can be reached, because this is the only way to create conditions for peaceful and dignified life in the province in keeping with European norms.

We only have one path - the path of dialogue and peaceful resolution of problems, Dacic said at a manifestation at Belgrade National Theatre dedicated to the pogrom of Serbs that occurred in KiM on March 17, 2004. As he put it, we should explain to the people that "we live in a situation when this territory is practically occupied."

 "The Serbian government will never betray its people or the Serbian idea of Kosovo-Metohija, but, on the other hand, it will always be guided by the immediate problems of citizens living there," the prime minister said, adding that the return of every Serb to KiM is a heroic act. Dacic also stressed that only a strong, not humiliated, Serbia can save KiM. "We have no right to improvise," Dacic underlined, and added that the so-called Kosovo issue is essential for Serbia's future. ---------- 

Serbs' return to KiM should be set as condition 
 Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) said Sunday that in talks on Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) the return of expelled Serbs should be set as a condition. It is most important for the expelled Serbs to return to KiM, because "it's no use restoring churches, monasteries and ruins if there are no people," said Patriarch Irinej at a manifestation dedicated to the pogrom from March 17, 2004, held at the National Theatre in Belgrade. 

"We have to be united and share the same opinion, position and ideal, and think the same about KiM," the SPC Patriarch said. He pointed out that in just two days, the ethnic Albanians destroyed what had been created for centuries, adding that all this happened before the eyers of refined and prosperous Europe and America. The event was also attended by Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, ministers, representatives of the Office for KiM and citizens. Bishop of Raska and Prizren Teodosije served a memorial service for the victims of the March pogrom, which occurred nine years ago in Kosovo-Metohija (KiM), at St Nicholas Church in Pristina on Sunday. 

 The service was also attended by Director of the Serbian government's Office for Kosovo-Metohija Aleksandar Vulin, who said that the international community should admit it made a mistake by not making enough effort to discover those who ordered and carried out this pogrom of Serbs in KiM, not even after nine years.

 "We call on the international community to rise above the prejudices against Serbia and the Serbian people and answer us who ordered and committed the March pogrom, but also tell us who killed the children in Gorazdevac, who blew up the bus in Livadice, who threw a bomb at Serb children in Mitrovica and who killed the reapers in Staro Gracko," Vulin said.

 "We are asked to forgive, but how can we forgive when we do not know who to forgive, if we do not know who is responsible for trafficking in human organs, if we do not know who carried out everything that led to the current situation in which the number of Serbs who came to St Nicholas Church today is far higher than the number of Serbs living in the whole of Pristina," he said. Vulin also urged the international community to think carefully in the light of the March pogrom and this day whether the Serbs deserve to decide on their destiny and whether they are the only people in Europe that will not be able to choose its police and its judiciary. 

The March pogrom surprised us all, including the solders who guarded our sanctuaries or were tasked to ensure peace in this area and the whole world, Bishop of Raska and Prizren Teodosije said. "Those who should have protected us turned their heads and allowed criminals to unleash their anger against our people and our holy sites," the bishop said, adding that the church of St. Nicholas was burnt down at the time and that there are still traces of this vandalism on its walls and frescoes. Bishop Teodosije pointed out that Serb Orthodox churches were destroyed in the pogrom, including those which are world cultural heritage under UNESCO protection. An outdoor exhibition of photographs dubbed "Crime without Punishment. Pogrom, March 17-18, 2004, Kosovo-Metohija" was organized in Kosovska Mitrovica on Sunday to mark the ninth anniversary of this outburst of violence against the Serbs.

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