Kosovo has a duty to fully adhere to its legislation on Special Protective Zones and not to commence work on the road until the bypass route is fully planned and funded – the EU Office wrote in a statement, following the visit of EU Heads of Mission to the Special Protective Zone at the Visoki Decani Monastery. They urged that this, as they assessed, commitment must be upheld. Prior to any activity affecting a Special Protective Zone, the Implementation and Monitoring Council (IMC) must be consulted and its decisions be fully respected – they added.
„Following the visit by EU Heads of Mission to Decan/i Special Protective Zone on 26th July 2018, we welcome the agreement among Implementation and Monitoring Council (IMC) members that Kosovo has a duty to fully adhere to its legislation on Special Protective Zones and to its international commitments regarding the protection of religious and cultural heritage and the rights of its communities’ members,” the statement reads.
„While the EU recognizes the value of roads that link communities, applicable procedures must be followed. Prior to any activity affecting a Special Protective Zone, the Implementation and Monitoring Council (IMC) must be consulted and its decisions be fully respected, in the interest of safeguarding religious and cultural heritage and upholding the rule of law in line with Kosovo’s international commitments,” EU Heads of Mission stated.
„The EU recalls Kosovo’s previous commitment not to commence work on the road until the bypass route is fully planned and funded, and urges that this commitment will be upheld,” they concluded.
In May, international diplomats also reacted when they requested the termination of the works on the construction of the road to Plav, which were being carried out, as the Raska-Prizren eparchy claimed, within the protected zone and, for which, a termination was also requested.
Controversial information arrived from the Kosovo side, starting with information that a new road is not being constructed, but that the existing mountainous area is being cleared due to erosion and landslides; it was guaranteed that there will be no entry into this protected zone without prior permission, that is, the works are being carried out without disturbing the protected zone; the Government of Kosovo has allocated €12 million for continuing the construction of a road that started four years ago and that the road is being built, and the construction will not be stopped.
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