Serbian bishop says "anaemic" statements cannot defend Kosovo

Published on October 12, 2007, Hoover's

Category: News from the American Council for Kosovo


Text of report by Serbian news agency Beta

["Bishop Artemije: Anaemic Statements Cannot Defend Kosovo" -- BETA headline]

Belgrade, 11 Oct., 20007 (Beta) - Archbishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren today assessed that Kosovo could not be defended by anaemic statements and said that it was necessary that Serbia more energetically shows how very close to its heart its [southern] province is.

"It is necessary that Serbia shows how close to its heart Kosovo is. Various anaemic statements, like: 'It can be like Dayton, if necessary.' or distancing, like: 'We will not intervene and the Army will not go to Kosovo.' cannot serve to defend Kosovo," Bishop Artemije told the Beta news agency.

The Bishop voiced satisfaction with the work of the US lobbying agency that has been engaged by the Eparchy of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council [SNV] to represent the interests of the Kosovo Serbs in the United States.

"Since it was hired a year and a half ago the lobbying group has done so much to change the attitude toward Serbia and strengthen its position on Kosovo that that adds up to more than anyone else has done," the Bishop said.

Bishop Artemije said that everything that that lobbying team was doing, press articles and statements, was very significant for and influenced the resolution of the issue of Kosovo's status.

The Bishop emphasized that the position and statements of Jim Jatras, the director of the American Council for Kosovo, were "100 per cent correct."

In an interview given to Vecernje novosti Jatras has said that Serbia must be more aggressive in the defence of Kosovo and that it was not good that it talks like a "good little rabbit." He said, among other things, that Serbia should not join NATO and should clearly let the European Union know that it will discontinue the association process should Brussels recognize Kosovo.

Jatras also said that a half million citizens of Serbia should take to the streets in November to protest against the US policy.

He said that Serbia should also consider holding military manoeuvres in the south of the country.

Bishop Artemije said that Jatras' advice should be followed and that we should not be so servile to all the people who come from the United States.

"He wants us to have more of a backbone, to be upright, because the world knows how to respect that," Bishop Artemije said.

Lending support to Jatras' view that Serbia should not join NATO the Bishop underlined: "We should not join NATO under any conditions in view of what it has done to us and is doing to us, because mostly all the countries that are in NATO support Ahtisaari's plan of independence for Kosovo."

Source: Beta news agency, Belgrade, in Serbian 1328 gmt 11 Oct 07

BBC Monitoring

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