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news 24 Jul 13

Serbian Patriarch Seeks Russian Aid on Kosovo

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church on a visit to Russia said he expects the world's greatest Slavic power to help resolve the Kosovo issue justly.


"We pin our hopes on Russia helping to settle the Kosovo issue," Patriarch Irinej said after meeting Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of the Russian Duma the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, in Moscow on Tuesday.

Patriarch Irinej said that Serbia was going through a difficult period, pointing also to the plight of the Serbian minority in Albanian-ruled Kosovo.

"Everything is at risk in Kosovo," the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church said, voicing hopes that Russia had a clear picture about developments in the former Serbian province.

The visit comes three months after Serbia and Kosovo signed a historic deal on "normalization" of relations in Brussels.

Serbia has said it will never recognise Kosovo's independence. However, the number of states that have recognised it has now risen to 101.

Two-thirds of UN member states have to recognize it for it to become a member of the world body. The UN has 193 member states.

Following the meeting with Naryshkin, Patriarch Irinej will tour Russian churches and monasteries as well as visiting Orthodox holy sites in Ukraine and Belarus during the two-week visit.

Together with other patriarchs of Orthodox churches, he will take part in the celebrations marking the 1025th anniversary of Russia's conversion to Christianity.

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