Over the last year the Implementation and Monitoring Council (IMC) has developed as a platform through which the Kosovo Government, Serbian Orthodox Church, EU Office and OSCE Mission in Kosovo cooperate and reach decisions together in matters related to the protection of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s religious and cultural heritage within Special Protected Zones.
Minister for Environment and Spatial Planning, Dardan Gashi, and Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport, Memli Krasniqi, are closely working with the representative of the Serbian Orthodox Church Bishop Teodosije Šibalić, the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Jean-Claude Schlumberger, and European Union Facilitator, Ambassador Dimitris Moschopoulos.
Having concluded their eleventh session, which marks the first anniversary since the IMC’s establishment in February 2013, the members acknowledged the good will and shared understanding which exists among them.
Ambassador Moschopoulos, who co-chairs the IMC together with Minister Gashi, commended the pragmatic approach of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the institutions of the Government of Kosovo for their constructive relationship. “As in any complex process”, he said, “there is still room for improvement, but we can already anticipate more concrete results in the near future following the ones we have already achieved.”
Through the work of the IMC Kosovo Government has demonstrated commitment in providing better conditions for the protection and preservation of the valuable religious and cultural heritage and the IMC’s membership remain committed to building on this experience to ensure that the rule of law is respected and properly enforced.
Head of the European Union Office in Kosovo and EU Special Representative Samuel Žbogar sees in the IMC one of the examples how “with patience and understanding dialogue can bring results. With the support of the European Union and the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, the IMC has proven to be a very creative formula not only for the protection of heritage sites, but also for developing trust-based relations between communities for the sake of all citizens.”