President, patriarch express concern over Kosovo

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić met on Monday in Belgrade with Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej.


A statement after the meeting said that they agreed that the mandate of international organizations in Kosovo, which Serbia also approved, obligates them to protect the rights and safety of people and guard the religious structures in the province.

Nikolić and Patriarch Irinej expressed concern about the safety of the people and the SPC in Kosovo, especially in light of recent events related to the Visoki Dečani monastery.

On February 8, ethnic Albanians protested near this medieval Serb holy place against the decision of the Kosovo Supreme Court which confirmed the UNESCO-protected monastery's right of property over 23 hectares of land.

The president also informed the patriarch about the content of the conversation he had with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul on February 5.

As co-chairmen of the organizing committee for the celebration of 1,700 years of the Edict of Milan, Nikolić and the Patriarch also discussed future events what will be held to mark this great anniversary, the president's press office said in a release.