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Đurić: Issue of property in Kosovo and Metohija must be put on table in Brussels

August 18, 2016.

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Đurić stated that the issue of the usurped Serbian property in Kosovo and Metohija must become a topic of discussion in Brussels, and that in his opinion there is support among the decision-making centers for that to happen.

Marko Đurić

The issue of property must be placed on the agenda of the talks in Brussels, Đurić said, and underscored that representatives of official Belgrade continuously insist on this, so much so that not a meeting is held without Belgrade's expectations regarding the issue of Serbian property in Kosovo and Metohija being reported to the EU officials.

“As much as Pristina would wish to avoid the discussions on property, I am willing to bet that at some point, they would be forced to sit down and discuss property. At that table, pending before us would be a huge number of cases concerning usurped housing – over 40,000 apartments and a large number of houses”, he said.

Appearing on the TV "Most" from Zvečan, Đurić said that 25 percent of the territory of Kosovo and Metohija is registered in the cadastral records as the private property of citizens of Serbian nationality, and that did not include the socially-owned enterprises, businesses and assets the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija said that as long as Aleksandar Vučić is at the helm of the Government of Serbia, and as long as the current policy is upheld, it was certain that Kosovo and Metohija would remain high on the list for investment and support.

There will be a reduction in aid, no abolishing institutions and the like. Quite the opposite, it only means that efforts would be invested, within the limits of the relatively modest forces of Serbia, to improve the situation and promote the situation of our people here, said Đurić.

"The fight to preserve the Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is as important as the struggle for our physical survival in the region. By preventing Kosovo's entry into UNESCO we won a battle. However, the struggle must continue," he said.

Đurić also announced that an exhibition about the Serbian cultural, historical and spiritual heritage of Kosovo and Metohija would be held staged in Paris in the Serbian Cultural Center in September 2016, to bolster our membership in UNESCO and in opposition to the act of abducting part of Serbian territory. The aim is to demonstrate to decision makers some of the most impressive traces of culture Serbian in Kosovo and Metohija.

Đurić also spoke about the beginning of construction work on the main bridge on the Ibar River in Kosovska Mitrovica, assessing the situation in previous years as insufficiently predictable and stable for a in a long term period.

He recalled that the protective barricades which had been placed on the bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica, had been removed overnight in July 2014, for reasons unclear, as Đurić phrased it, stressing that "it was done without our will and our consent." After the event, the "Peace Park" has been installed on top of the bridge.

“In order to preclude any anxiety on anyone’s part that someone could get into North Mitrovica overnight, the Kralja Petra Street will be closed for traffic and converted into a modern pedestrian zone, much like the pedestrian street Knez Mihajlova in Belgrade. It would be elevated in its lower part and calibrated in relation to the intersection facing the bridge, and it would be over one meter higher, and literally prevent any approach from the direction of Mitrovica South,” Đurić said.

On the other side of the bridge, there will be a turn enabling traffic to Bosniak Mahala and Suvi Do. Also, very importantly, on the north side of the bridge, there would be a permanent KFOR checkpoint, said Đurić.

"What victory of the Albanians are we talking about if you have a fixed checkpoint of KFOR, police and a pedestrian zone, so no one must fear anymore that someone would remove the barricade overnight, and that God knows what would happen?" - he said.

Among the solutions for the main bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica possible at the moment, I think this one guarantees preservation of our highest interests, Đurić said, concluding that the issue of the bridge has remained unresolved by anyone for the past 16 years, even though theirs was better than the present situation.

Ethnically motivated incidents in Kosovo and Metohija, 2021 Negotiation process with Pristina Operational Factsheet
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9 113 492 3444