“We are all expecting something difficult and horrible. Our message to you, all Serbs in Kosovo, is to remain in your homes and around your monasteries, regardless of what God allows or our enemies do.”
Bishop Artemije of Ras and Prizren, archpastor of Orthodox Christians in Kosovo.
The American Council for Kosovo today issued this Special Appeal to all Americans and citizens of other countries in the aftermath of the illegal and void unilateral “declaration of independence” by Albanian Muslims in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija and their recognition by some countries, led, regrettably, by the United States:
The struggle for the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija has entered a new phase, one likely to extend far into the future. With an illegal and void "declaration" by Kosovo's UN-supervised Albanian Muslim administration, which is dominated by the criminal leadership of a terrorist organization, the so-called "Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)," followed by recognition of Kosovo's independence by a number of countries -- shamefully, led by the United States -- an unprecedented violation of the international order and global stability has been committed. Countries claiming to be paragons of democracy and the rule of law proudly assert that they have forcibly amputated, without its consent, the territory of a sovereign state and member of the United Nations.
But despite any declaration, despite any foreign recognitions, Kosovo is no more independent now than it was before. Legally, it remains part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Serbia, and will remain so. What has changed is the status of the international mission in Kosovo. Since 1999, the United Nations and NATO have been present in Kosovo as unwelcome guests with Serbia's agreement, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which affirms Kosovo as part of Serbia and provides for its "essential autonomy" within Serbia. Despite corrupt reinterpretations by the recognizing countries, not one syllable of Resolution 1244 provides for Kosovo's separation from Serbia. In addition, Serbia specifically has rejected the illegal deployment on its territory of a mission of the European Union (EU) tasked, ironically, with legal reform.
Through their support of what Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has called a "puppet entity" on Serbia's territory, the recognizing states and the EU have inflicted a grave act of political violence on the international legal system. Their actions undermine the most basic principal of international peace: guarantees of the territorial integrity of sovereign states in the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and other universally binding commitments. Every multiethnic country, especially those with violent separatist movements, is now placed at risk. Americans should take note that what our government seeks to inflict on Serbia today may be the fate of the southwest United States tomorrow.
Even worse than the act of political violence, the declared establishment and recognition of an illegal, separatist entity on Serbian territory presents the threat of stepped-up physical violence. As the archpastor of Kosovo's endangered Orthodox Christians, His Grace ARTEMIJE, Bishop of Ras and Prizren, warned during his most recent visit to Washington:
"Threats have already been issued that after an independence declaration and recognition, force would be used to shut down so-called 'parallel structures' in Serbian enclaves -- in reality the legitimate institutions of our state -- including the Mitrovica office of the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija. Such actions, with expected attacks on Serbian citizens, would constitute a direct assault on the Serbian state and the Serbian nation. While it would be inappropriate to disclose Serbia’s specific response, we will defend our territory and our people as would any other democratic country. Russia and other friendly countries are prepared to assist us. . . . We Serbs have suffered many occupations in the past and triumphed over them. If necessary we would survive this one as well. Despite any intensification of the terror to which we Christians have been subjected since 1999, my flock in Kosovo has no intention of leaving their homes."
It would be up to the KLA and their supporters to decide whether to kick off a new cycle of violence by attacking Serbs, who live in fear that the remaining third of their pre-war population would be eradicated and the rest of their churches destroyed. While advocates of Kosovo's amputation from Serbia have taken comfort from the expectation that Serbia would not respond appropriately to attacks on its citizens, that expectation is a miscalculation. The Kosovo Albanians' terrorist leadership and the recognizing states have needlessly created a volatile mixture: shattering the international legal system, US-Russia confrontation, violence on the ground, criminality, human rights violations, and a new frozen conflict.
Purported justifications for Kosovo’s independence based on the supposed “humanitarian intervention” by NATO in 1999 are misplaced. Far from the usual claims that NATO stopped a humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo, the past nine years have seen a slow-motion genocide in progress against the province’s Christian Serbian population under the nose of the UN and NATO, and at times with their assent. Two-thirds of the Serbian population already has been expelled and have not been able to return safely to their homes. Over 150 churches and monasteries have been destroyed. Hundreds of new Saudi-funded mosques fomenting the extreme Wahhabi doctrine have sprung up.
The American Council for Kosovo asks all Americans and citizens of other countries to contact your government to demand:
- No diplomatic ties should be established with the illegal, criminal, separatist, KLA regime in Pristina! Any ambassador nominated to Pristina must be denied confirmation!
- No foreign assistance to the illegal, criminal, separatist, KLA regime in Pristina!
- No support by the foreign mission in Kosovo should given to KLA terrorist efforts to expand their “authority” into Serb-controlled areas!
- The EU “rule of law” occupation force must be withdrawn!
- The illegal “puppet entity” on Serbian soil must be dissolved!
- New negotiations, without preconceived results, must be started between Serbia and responsible representatives of the Albanian community to reach a lasting settle consistent with international law!
Americans immediately should contact their Senators and Congressmen with these demands. They should call the White House (202-456-1111) to protest U.S. recognition and demand the above measures, or email to:
President George W. Bush:
Vice President Richard B. Cheney:
James George Jatras
Director, American Council for Kosovo