Serbia will not recognise Kosovo’s independence: Opposes its membership in UNESCO

October 2015

Top state and church officials and representatives of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts invited members of UNESCO to reject application of Kosovo to UNESCO, and pointed out that Serbia will not recognise Kosovo’s independence, and that it will continue its path towards EU membership, while cherishing and improving the traditionally good relations with Russia, China and other countries.

In the meeting held at the Presidency of Serbia, which was attended by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic with advisers, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, National Assembly Speaker Maja Gojkovic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, Ministers Nebojsa Stefanovic, Bratislav Gasic and Nikola Selakovic, Director of the Office for Kosovo-Metohija Marko Djuric, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej with members of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church and President and representatives of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts Vladimir Kostic and Ljubomir Maksimovic, the following conclusions were agreed and adopted:

1. All institutions and state bodies of the Republic of Serbia strongly oppose the admission of “Kosovo” in the membership of UNESCO and invite members of the Executive Council and the General Conference of this international organisation to reject the proposal. Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo-Metohija belong to the heritage of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Republic of Serbia, and any seizure of such heritage would clearly endanger the survival of the most important religious, cultural and historical monuments of the Serbian people, but also European and world cultural heritage in Kosovo-Metohija, but also of the Serbian population still living in the area;

2. The Republic of Serbia will not recognise the independence of “Kosovo” and will fight for the preservation of national, spiritual and cultural identity of the Serbian people in Kosovo-Metohija. At the same time, aware of the harsh realities on the ground, especially for the view in a different and better future for both Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo-Metohija, the Serbian government, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts deem necessary to solve all problems in a peaceful manner and with additional efforts to establish better relations with the Albanians. Support to the creation of Serbian municipalities as the hedging instrument of collective political, economic, cultural and other rights of the Serbian people in Kosovo-Metohija will be one of the priorities of the state policy in the future;

3. The Serbian state will continue on its path towards the European Union, as well as to keep and improve the traditionally good relations with Russia, China and other countries. Also, the dialogue in Brussels between Belgrade and Pristina should continue and the Serbian government has full freedom within the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, to make compromise solutions, which would pave the way for better cooperation and common life in the future for the Serbs and Albanians;

4. The position of Serbs in the region was discussed in particular, and the responsibility and commitment of Serbia about the welfare of Serbs outside Serbia was reaffirmed, in particular the need for even greater and more substantial cooperation of special and parallel relations between Republika Srpska and Serbia, in the field of economic development relationships and infrastructure projects as well as in the spheres of culture, arts and sport;

5. All the organs and institutions of the Republic of Serbia, at the height of the migrant crisis and destabilisation in the region, identify regional cooperation, the creation of better and higher forms of unity and cooperation with other countries in the region as a vital state and national interest. Serbia will make an active contribution to ensuring that peace and economic prosperity in our region become the main themes, instead of political bickering;

6. All participants agreed that it is necessary that there is an open, continuous dialogue on key national issues in society, that there are no taboos, and that the existence of differences is proof of Serbian tolerance, openness and force;

7. By harmonising the basic elements of the policy that we have to advocate, it is necessary to achieve the highest level of unity in the implementation of policies agreed on by highest state authorities, Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Serbian Government