Archbishop Hilarion of Australia and New Zealand disquieted over Australian recognition of Kosovo

Archbishop HilarionThe Sydney-based spiritual leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Australia and spokesman for the Russian Community in Australia, , in a letter of 13 March 2008 to Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, noted his observance of the actions of the Australian government, which has joined but a minority of members of the United Nations to legitimize the regime in Kosovo, with great disquiet.

"The ongoing situation in Kosovo since the fall of the Milosevic regime" is described by the Archbishop as having "seen the United Nations and the European Union effectively sanctioning the ethnic cleansing and displacement of the majority of the Serbian inhabitants of Kosovo." He urges the Prime Minister, noting "we cannot be silent about injustice and crimes. Let us be frank and speak also about the devastation and the destruction of Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo, about evictions, assassinations, harassment, rapes and brigandage which the Albanians are perpetrating against the disenfranchised Serbian people before the eyes of the entire world - and all under the so-called protection of UNMIK and KFOR." His Eminence continues, stating: "The world pretends not to see, but can we as Australians pretend not to see? Instead of meting appropriate punishment to the perpetrators of numerous crimes, the world rushes to reward them. It rushes to reward them by recognising the illegally proclaimed independence of Kosovo. What a shame and disgrace! What moral depravation!"

The Archbishop contrasting the above with the vibrant democracy of the Serbian nation, "which has not broken any national, international, human, United Nations or European Union law"; concludes emphatically, "it is not too late to withdraw that recognition. It is not too late to be seen to support international law and the need to fully implement the decisions of the United Nations guaranteeing the territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia. It is not too late to restore our country's honour and integrity within the international community. It is not too late for Australia to be a supporter of a just, honourable and above all, peaceful solution in Kosovo."