The mayor of Decani, Bashkim Ramosaj from the ranks of AAK reacted today to the Diocese of Raska and Prizren once again requesting the suspension of construction of the Decani-Plav road in the protective zone of the Visoki Decani Monastery. Ramosaj alerted international representatives and official Belgrade that the construction will not be stopped “at any cost.” At the same time, he used a derogatory reference for the abbot of Visoki Decani, describing him as “crazy” – although he did not use the abbot’s name. If anyone had broken the law, it was the monastery after giving consent to the construction of a hydroelectric power station, which is why the old road was destroyed, claimed Ramosaj.
„The only goals of the construction of the P-108 road, which passes through the protective zone, are economic development and well-being of the citizens, that’s all!“ Ramosaj wrote on Facebook, thus reiterating the local government’s responses to the six-year long warnings of the monastery that the road cannot be built in a protective zone.
Ramosaj went a step further, claiming that „when the ‘crazy people’ govern the Decani Monastery, the craziness in our municipality increases.“
Although Ramosaj did not use the Abbot’s name, the Pristina media reported that the mayor of Decani thus described the abbot of the Visoki Decani monastery, Sava Janjic, due to his reaction to the continued works on the Decani-Plav highway in the monastery’s protective zone.
„When the wishes of lunatics are heard, the results are more than chauvinistic. I have explained many times and claimed that our goals are completely peaceful,“ this Kosovo official added.
In another Facebook post, Ramosaj explained that the citizens of Decani are still using the road, which is in a very poor condition due to the construction of the hydroelectric power station. He added that he did not intend to provoke or damage the monastery Visoki Decani, but that his only goal is to ensure the citizens of Decani have a better life.
He underlined that the construction of the road does not cause damage to the monastery, and that its renovation is not in conflict with the law on special protective zones – as the representatives of the Decani Monastery have claimed.
„If someone committed a violation, it was the monastery itself that gave its consent for the construction of an industrial facility – a hydroelectric power station, right next to the walls of the monastery,“ added the mayor of Decani.
Emphasizing that the road is being built with the aim of increasing the economic standard for future generations, he said:
„The construction will not be stopped at any cost as long as I am mayor.“
Ramosaj is a member of the party led by Ramush Haradinaj, whose birthplace is Decani.
Daut Haradinaj, Ramush Haradinaj’s brother, also reacted.
He urged official Belgrade to „stop the politicization of road construction“.
Like the mayor of Decani, Haradinaj also claimed that the construction of the road is aimed at the economic development of the municipality, but also at increasing the value of the entire area for all.
„Tendencies for politicization lead to nothing but deterioration of life and good relations that were established during the year. This road is made for the citizens of Decani,“ he added.
The Diocese of Raska and Prizren announced on Thursday that, despite the ban on the construction of highways and transit roads through special protective zones in Kosovo, works on the main road Decani-Plav near the monastery Visoki Decani have continued.
The Diocese alerted that heavy machinery (excavators, backhoe loaders, and road compactors) are operating within the Monastery’s Protective Zone. The road is being widened by several meters from its previous width, thus becoming essentially a category one highway, they noted, warning of damages to the monastery itself and its facilities due to the large number of construction vehicles present there.
The abbot of the monastery Visoki Decani, Sava Janjic reacted on Friday, emphasizing that the works on the road from Decani to Plav must be stopped.
He recalled the Law on Special Protective Zones, which includes the zone around the monastery, and emphasized that the local structures in the municipality of Decani violate their own laws.
Decisions on construction can be made only with the consent of the multi-member Commission for Protective Zones, whose members are representatives of the EU Office in Kosovo, the OSCE Mission, Kosovo’s Ministers of Spatial Planning and Culture, and the Bishop of Raska and Prizren. In the case of the main road between Decani-Plav, the Commission did not give consent for the construction of the road, instead a bypass route around the SPZ had been agreed.
„Even if the monastery consented to the construction of that road, it could not be built. The law has been violated and the works must be stopped and if the road from Decani to Plav is constructed, a bypass must be built, which was started in 2014. Later, however, works continued within the protective zone, which is directly prohibited and not allowed,” said the abbot.
On Friday, the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information also condemned the continuation of works on the main road Decani-Plav, alerting UNESCO about the matter.
The works were criticized by the Kosovo Office and Srpska Lista. The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic announced this morning that at the next meeting in Brussels in early September, he would ask the representatives of Pristina and European mediators to urgently and permanently suspend construction in the protective zone of Visoki Decani Monastery.
A section of this road was ceremoniously opened in June this year. The ceremony was attended by Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who was born in Decani. Haradinaj was the prime minister when the first attempt was made to build the road in 2018, within – as the monks of Visoki Decani claimed even at that time – the Special Protective Zone. This move was opposed by the Visoki Decani monks and representatives of the international community in Kosovo and Serb CSOs.
The road construction began in 2014, and all attempts by the Diocese to halt the works while alerting of a violation of the Law and the SPZ were rejected by the authorities in Decani, who accused Visoki Decani of „preventing economic development“ of the municipality of Decani.
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