"Strategy against attempts to rename Serb heritage"

Aleksandar Vulin warned on Monday against the attempts to rename the cultural heritage of Serbs in Kosovo into "Kosovo ('Kosovar') heritage."

Source: Tanjug

The minister without portfolio in charge of Kosovo and Metohija "underscored that Serbia should adopt a clear strategy to prevent this," Tanjug reported.

An action plan should be drafted on the basis of the strategy and filed to the UNESCO, Vulin told a meeting in the Palace of Serbia dedicated to the Serb cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija.

Noting that Serbia cannot allow history to be falsified and Serb cultural heritage to be taken away, Vulin announced that one of the next talks between Belgrade and Priština would focus on the property and cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija.

Bishop Jovan of Lipljan pointed to the importance of the Serb religious heritage in Kosovo and Metohija and reiterated that an enormous part of the heritage went missing in a series of waves of violence by Albanian extremists and separatists.

The Serbian government Office for Kosovo and Metohija warned in October 2012 that Serb cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is being continuously destroyed and that the traces of Serbian state and church in the province are being eradicated.

This contributes to the removal of symbols of Serbia's cultural identity and constitutes an open conduct of genocide.

There are around 1,300 churches, monasteries and other holy sites and facilities in Kosovo and Metohija which constitute the cultural heritage of Serbs, and as many as four of these sites are included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger.

The four facilities on the list are the Dečani Monastery, Gračanica Monastery, Patriarchy of Peć and the Church of the Holy Virgin of Ljeviš in Prizren.

Since the arrival of the international forces to Kosovo and Metohija in June 1999 following the NATO bombing of Serbia, a total of 156 churches, monasteries and other facilities were damaged or destroyed and 61 of them have the status of cultural monuments, 18 of which bear exceptional importance for the Republic of Serbia.

At the same time, over 10,000 icons and religious and ceremonial church objects were stolen to be sold in the illegal markets worldwide.

"Some problems will be solved"

Aleksandar Vulin has said that he expects Monday's meeting between Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton to solve at least some problems that Priština is causing in the implementation of the Brussels agreement on normalization of relations with Belgrade.

Vulin said that Priština's decision to ban Serbian officials from visiting Kosovo during the campaign for local elections is very harmful for the implementation of the Brussels agreement which was signed on April 19.

He told reporters in the Palace of Serbia that the problem of registry of voters and control of the voting process has to be solved before the elections.

Vulin said that 1.7 million voters are registered for the local elections in Kosovo that is almost all citizens in the province, while on the other hand out of 39,046 internally displaced Serbs, only 6,593 have been registered as voters.

The minister said that in the manner Priština is obstructing the Brussels deal since it is afraid that the political situation would change irreversibly by a great turnout of Serbs.

"This is a well-grounded fear - the political situation would change," Vulin said, stressing that if Serb voters went to the polls, there would be no governance without their legitimate institutions any more.


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