BELGRADE — Vuk Jeremić stated on Tuesday that on Serbia’s election to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will strengthen its positions regarding the nation’s heritage.
The Serbian foreign minister stressed that it will help in efforts to prevent the attempts of renaming Serbian Orthodox Christian monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija, and refer to them as “Kosovar”.
“If they are not Serbian, than nothing is. This deals a blow to the very core of our national identity, but as of next year we will be in a much better position to protect our identity,” Jeremić said in a statement for Tanjug.
He said that despite everything Serbia has managed to defend its cultural heritage in Kosovo, and that as of 2012, when its mandate in the UNESCO World Heritage Committee starts, it will be even more successful.
Jeremić underlined these are churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and that this must remain unchanged.
“The fact that we were chosen in the first round speaks volumes. This was not easy because of the fact that the issue regarding our churches and monasteries in Kosovo is currently discussed in UNESCO World Heritage Committee,” Jeremić noted, adding that this is a confirmation of the reputation Serbia enjoys not only in UNESCO, but in the entire international community.
According to him, Serbia has been lobbying for election in the Committee for over a year, which proved fruitful owing to the efforts of Serbian diplomats across the world and the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“This is their personal victory, but also a victory of Serbia,” he underlined.
Jeremić also said that apart from protection of the Serbian monasteries and churches, Serbia will also advocate enlargement of the World Heritage List given that certain cultural sites in the world have not been given the status they deserve mainly for political reasons.
“We will also urge a more equal distribution of expert assistance in preservation of the monuments across the world, and we are ready to put our conservation experts at disposal of the member states,” the minister said.
“We have been active in each and every body we have joined so far, and we intend to act likewise in this committee as well,” Jeremić concluded.
Serbia was elected to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for the first time since its foundation at its 36th General Conference in Paris.