21 August 2006

Serbia Offers To Buy Back Unlawfully Seized Church Property

Proposal regarding return of church property in Kosovo remains unchanged
Belgrade, Aug 21, 2006 – The Serbian Negotiating Team for talks on Kosovo future status said in a statement that the proposal they had stated at the Vienna talks on July 18 regarding the return of the property that the Serbian Orthodox Church used to own in Kosovo, did not undergo any changes.
News headlines saying that the team had sent a demand to the provisional Kosovo parliament, especially a demand that the parliament pass lex specialis on the return of property only to the Serbian Orthodox Church, are completely unfounded and occurred as a result of a misunderstanding. The statement adds that in his address on July 24 in Vienna, Serbian President Boris Tadic presented the proposal in a concise way."As for the return of property to the Serbian Orthodox Church, our delegation put forward a precise compromise formula on July 18, which if adopted, could help to solve this issue. Provisional institutions would accept the principle of the return of church property and make a pledge to return a portion of church property which is now used as public property and is situated within the protected zones around monasteries and other monuments. The property would be returned if in the envisioned course of several months the Bill on restitution is passed in Kosovo-Metohija. Other church property now used as public property and situated within the agreed protected zones, would be immediately bought by the Serbian Orthodox Church at the market price", said Tadic.
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