To the Right Honourable Helen Clark
The Right Honourable Helen Clark
PO Box 18888
Honourable Prime Minister:
We write to you on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the patriotic Serbian community in New Zealand to offer our sincere appreciation to you and to the Government of New Zealand for your prudent decision not to extend diplomatic recognition to Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence and secession from the Republic of Serbia.
Kosovo including its integral territory of Metohija is Serbia's spiritual Jerusalem and the very cradle of the Serbian nation. Kosovo is and remains a province of the sovereign Republic of Serbia in accordance with The Charter of The United Nations, Security Council Resolution 1244, as well as all relevant international conventions on human rights, the rights of peoples and on the inviolability of internationally recognized borders. Therefore, the recognition of Kosovo as an independent entity would violate every established norm of International Law concerned with nation building.
As is know to you, customary International Law holds that secession from a recognised state can only be granted if it has the consent of the host state, in this case Serbia. As the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali observed in 1992: "[I]f every ethnic, religious or linguistic group claimed statehood, there would be no limit to fragmentation, and peace, security and economic well-being for all would become ever more difficult to achieve". (Boutros Boutros-Ghali, An Agenda for Peace, Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peace-keeping, United Nations, New York, 1992, para. 17.)
Also, the putative state of Kosovo fails to meet the essential criteria of statehood set out in the Montevideo Convention of 1933. In particular, Kosovo's present situation of effectively being an international protectorate renders it incapable of satisfying the requirement that a state should be possessed of a government and capacity to enter relations with other states. Kosovo simply does not meet the threshold of independence required by International Law.
Finally, recognition of Kosovo would violate the European Union's Guidelines on Recognition in relation to states emerging from the former USSR and Yugoslavia issued in 1991. In particular, prospective states have to establish that they respected and guaranteed various International Law norms relating to human rights and the rights of ethnic and national minorities. The situation of the remaining Serbian population in Kosovo, both religious and lay, which is segregated behind barbed wire and protected only by the presence of international forces on the ground, as well as 200 destroyed Serbian Orthodox Churches, shrines and other cultural monuments bear horrific testimony to the violation of these requirements in Kosovo.
Prime Minister, as the war in Iraq has led to massive instability in its region and exacerbated the growth of terrorism, in like manner the precipitate recognition of Kosovo will lead to similar consequences in the Balkans. The same is aptly noted by the concerns and interests of states in the region, such as Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Spain that are most likely to suffer from the regional instability which will inevitably follow recognition, and that have, therefore determined not to recognise Kosovo.
For all of these reasons Honourable Prime Minister, we urge you and your Government to remain steadfast in your decision not to extend recognition to Kosovo, and further, to use your standing as a good international citizen that respects the Rule of Law to impress upon all interested parties that the only way to resolve the status of Kosovo is through the upholding of standards before status, namely the observance of human rights and freedoms, repatriation, restitution, followed by an equitable, constructive dialogue and peaceful negotiations.
Bishop of Australia and New Zealand
The Serbian Orthodox Church