"Decani monastery prevents the construction of the Decani-Plav road" – this claims Pristina based KTV channel. Only the construction plaque of the road Decan–Plave (Montenegro) was allowed within the Special zone Near the Decani Monastery, because the Monastery is not allowing the construction of the road within the zone, it reports. The monastery immediately responded: "Visoki Dečani Monastery supports construction of the road to Plav but outside the boundaries of the Special Protected Zone, in agreement with the previous decision of Kosovo Government… According to the Kosovo law on Special Protected Zones which is related to the protection of cultural heritage it is prohibited to construct transit roads through the zones surrounding most important cultural and historical monuments, among which is the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Visoki Dečani". The monastery at the same time expects the monastery land to be registered in the Land register, calling upon the Decani Municipality of Decani to "stop with persistent pressures which endanger the security situation in Decani Municipality". We publish the original communique:
"Regarding the news published by KTV today „Dečani Monastery prevents construction of the Plav-Dečani Road“ we are compelled to inform the public about the facts related to the road and express sincere regret for comments expressed in public by Dečani mayor Bashkim Ramosaj.
KTV: The construction works started two weeks earlier, when the Mayor of Decani Municipality, Bashkim Ramosaj, claimed there are no open issues with the Monastery. Decani Municipal Assembly gathered in an extraordinary meeting on Thursday to discuss the matter. Mayor Ramosaj said the road will be constructed.
“The work are going on, will continue, and that road will be constructed,” said Ramosaj. All assembly members endorsed the initiative of the Mayor. Fatmir Kurmeraj from the LDK said that the authorities should certainly discuss with all parties involved and the construction should happen.
“We should discuss with the Monastery and explain that the project is in their interest and the interest of all citizens of the municipality,” said Hajdari.
No one from the Monastery replied to the KTV’s interest to have their position on this matter.
According to the Kosovo law on Special Protected Zones which is related to the protection of cultural heritage it is prohibited to construct transit roads through the zones surrounding most important cultural and historical monuments, among which is the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Visoki Dečani. This road has been discussed at the Council for Implementation of Special Protected Zones IMC several times so far. The Council in which participate the highest representatives of the EU Office, OSCE, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Spatial Planning and the Serbian Orthodox Church reached a decision several years ago that the construction of this road was unacceptable because in the long run the road would endanger peace, natural surrounding around the monastery and is in direct contradiction with all standards not only of the Law but also the standards of protection of the UNESCO monuments.
The transit road would considerably increase the traffic (especially the heavy vehicles), noise and pollution. That is exactly why in Europe today transit roads are being dislocated from the areas of important cultural and historical monuments. This was the reason why the Council suggested that the road should be constructed outside the SPZ, which was accepted by the Kosovo Government and the then Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci inaugurated the first part of the bypass route of Dečani-Plav road outside of the protected zone, through the Loćanska Bistrica valley. (https://youtu.be/sqg7y2bzc9I i tekst http://www.kosovapress.com/sq/lajme/thaci-rruga-decan-plave-bashkon-shqiptaret-si-asnjehere-me-pare-25614/ )
The initiative to disregard this decision of the Kosovo Government and step into a direct breach of law is therefore a matter of concern and in the long run is damaging for all citizens in this region. EU and OSCE representatives have already presented their legal analyses and reached conclusion that the construction of the road next to the Monastery, through the SPZ, would be a direct violation of law, as it is a prohibited activity which does not even depend on the position of the Monastery itself. Therefore it is absolutely useless and damaging to make pressure on the monastery and the Municipality should rather focus on the respect of the Law which was adopted by Kosovo Parliament and is of importance for the rule of law and future of all citizens.
Beside attempts to violate this law and directly endanger one of the most important cultural and historical monuments, we must also say that for two years Dečani Municipality denies registration of the land which was confirmed as the property of Dečani Monastery by the decisions of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts of Kosovo. Disrespect of the decisions of Kosovo’s highest legal bodies is detrimental not only for citizens of Dečani Municipality but also sends a negative message to the world about the absence of rule of law as well as the lack of observing Kosovo’s own legal and judicial decisions.
Visoki Dečani Monastery supports construction of the road to Plav but outside the boundaries of the Special Protected Zone, in agreement with the previous decision of Kosovo Government. At the same time the Monastery expects the monastery land to be registered in the Land register and hopes the Municipality of Dečani will stop with persistent pressures which endanger the security situation in Dečani Municipality. The road next to the Monastery which extends into the Dečani gorge is of local character and is used every day by citizens, especially elderly people and children for walking and recreation. Turning this road into a heavy traffic thoroughfare which will become a main gateway to Kosovo from Montenegro would endanger both Dečani citizens and the Monastery. Therefore it is essential that the road to Plav is constructed according to the route stipulated by the Kosovo Government in 2014 and that the existing road near the Monastery remains of recreational character, as an oasis of peace and preservation of the natural surrounding."
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