June 1 -- Bishop Artemije, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christian Serbs in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija condemned violent attacks on Serbs excercising their legitimate democratic rights in local elections held on Sunday, May 30. He called on the United Nations authority and foreign military forces present in Kosovo under UN authority to protect Serbs from violent provocations. He also praised actions by local Serbs and called for the Serbian government to support them.
In an exclusive statement to the American Council for Kosovo, Bishop Artemije said:
"It is clear anyone what is the nature of these attacks. According to media, these 'demonstrations' were launched by so-called 'Kosovo Liberation Army veterans' protesting Serbian local elections to ‘protect Kosovo’s sovereignty.' We must translate this into normal human language: members of a Islamic terrorist organization headed by mafia figures Thaçi, Haradinaj, and Çeku, have organized attacks on Christian Serbs holding legitimate democratic elections in their own country for the supposed purpose of 'protecting' the nonexistent 'sovereignty' of an illegal, lawless separatist entity.
"I categorically condemn these attacks and call on all persons in any position of authority to do likewise. When the United Nations and various foreign countries undertook civil administration in Kosovo and Metohija following the illegal NATO war against our country, they also undertook, under UNSC 1244, the moral obligation to protect peaceful people engaged in legitimate pursuits. What can be more legitimate than Serbs voting in Serbian elections in Serbia? Yet this is used as a pretext for violent attacks! The UN and foreign military forces must not allow what are clearly intended as a practice run for a violent seizure of those small parts of Kosovo and Metohija where Serbs still enjoy a minimum degree of security.
"It is important for the Serbian local administration resulting from these elections to be formed as soon as possible, and for it to receive the fullest possible support from authorities in Belgrade. I commend the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija for the restrained but steadfast manner in which they have resisted these latest provocations."