14 June 2021 National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic addresses the International Secretariat of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy

14 June 2021 National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic addresses the International Secretariat of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy

Monday, 14 June 2021

National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic Addresses IAO International Secretariat

The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic spoke at the opening of the meeting of the International Secretariat of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. The Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy Maximos Charakopoulos and the President of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy Sergei Gavrilo, currently in official visit to Serbia, also addressed the attending.


THE FOLLOWING IS THE SPEECH OF THE SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA IN ITS ENTIRETY:

Dear Mr. Gavrilov,
Mr. Charakopoulos,
Distinguished representatives of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy,
I wish you a warm welcome to Serbia and to our National Assembly, it is my great pleasure to be able to greet you on behalf of the Republic of Serbia and our citizens. I am especially pleased that the National Assembly of Serbia is the host of the first event after the improvement of the situation caused by the pandemic, namely the meeting of the International Secretariat, committee chairpersons and rapporteurs of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy.

We have many important topics before us and it is important to offer ideas and answers to some of them, because I am convinced that we have something to say and that we can contribute to a better climate in the political and cultural relations in the regions we come from. As a country that has been actively involved in the work of this organisation almost since its establishment, the Republic of Serbia holds the activities of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy in very high regard, especially the promotion of noble virtues through democratic institutions and the creation of a network of communication and cooperation between our parliaments.

We see the readiness for cooperation with other international organisations we are members of, such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, OSCE, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, as particularly important. The special value of the organisation lies in the fact that the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy puts unity in the diversity of Orthodox Christians in the forefront, as the main pillar in the field of education and culture, bypassing prejudices related to national identity, as well as emphasising the principles and values of Christianity and democracy.

I would like to remind you that the Republic of Serbia hosted the organisation’s General Assembly in 2009, when the resolution entitled "Challenges faced by the Orthodox population in Kosovo-Metohija" was adopted. This document confirms the positions of our country on the issue of Kosovo-Metohija, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia and condemns discrimination against the Orthodox Christian population on religious grounds and attempts to erase and change the Serbian identity, history, character and Serbian-Christian culture in Kosovo-Metohija.

I would also like to remind you that at the last meeting of our organisation’s International Secretariat, chairpersons and committees, in Athens last year, at the initiative of Serbia, the fact that Christian churches in Kosovo-Metohija were endangered was noted.

I mention this because of the increasingly frequent attempts by Pristina to appropriate the Orthodox cultural heritage in Kosovo-Metohija as "Kosovo” heritage, which is a rough attempt to revise history and build the identity of the Albanian nation in Kosovo on the Serbian and Orthodox cultural heritage.

That heritage is endangered, not only by such attempts, but also physically. This is evidenced by the fact that some of the medieval Orthodox monasteries and churches are on the international list of historical heritage in danger.

The request of Pristina officials to exclude the Serbian heritage in Kosovo-Metohija from international protection is a direct continuation of the violence that has been going on without interruption for decades. Pristina's interest in culture is motivated exclusively by their attempt to fabricate their identity and usurp the centuries-old Serbian tradition. I would like to remind you on this occasion that over 150 Orthodox churches and temples have been destroyed, desecrated and devastated in Kosovo-Metohija since 1999. Even today, there are churches that testify to the attempts to erase any trace of them. An example of that is the church in Samodreza. It was devastated, lost its roof and the interior was turned into a garbage dump and a public toilet.

In that context, I would like to assure you that Pristina's attempts to join UNESCO are a very dangerous step toward disrupting the protection of the Orthodox Christian heritage in Kosovo-Metohija.

Dear friends,

With today's gathering, I want to demonstrate the Republic of Serbia’s immense readiness to participate in all the activities of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy as an important forum for multilateral cooperation on issues important not only for the Orthodox world, but for modern civilisation as well. In this regard, the National Assembly, our MPs and I personally, as well as all other institutions, are ready to provide full cooperation within this organisation, because we recognise its goals and ambitions as our own.

At the end of his address, the National Assembly Speaker called on all Christians to show greater mutual solidarity.

I wish you successful work and once again a friendly welcome to Serbia.

Thank you!



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