Petkovic on preserving Serbian monuments in KiM

Serbian Minister of Culture Bratislav Petkovic advocated the preservation of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo at UNESCO's 8th Ministerial Conference on Cultural Heritage in South-East Europe on Thursday.

(KosovoCompromiseStuff) Friday, October 26, 2012

"Serbia expects UNESCO to keep its status neutral position when it comes to medieval monuments in Kosovo inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger," Petkovic said in his speech.

"Visoki Decani Monastery, the Monastery of the Patriarchate of Pec, Gracanica Monastery, and the Church of the Holy Virgin of Ljevis are the very core of the Serbian national identity and an inseparable part of the state identity of the Republic of Serbia. I want to emphasize this, because the preservation of these monuments is of vital interest for my country and my people," the minister pointed out.

"We need to focus on the preservation of these monuments, rather than on disputes and efforts to change the names under which they are registered or debates on territorial issues encroaching on the very sovereignty of UNESCO member states and Parties to the Convention," he noted.

The main theme proposed for this ministerial conference is "Intangible Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development."

The meeting is attended by the representatives of 11 countries of South-East Europe.
Petkovic also said on the occasion that Serbia created a new institutional system for preservation of intangible cultural heritage on its territory in 2010.

A Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage has been formed at the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade, as well as the National Committee that directs the work in this area, together with a network of regional coordinators.

Serbia has 27 elements of intangible cultural heritage in its national inventory and it prepares several nominations for UNESCO's Intangible Heritage Representative List, including Krsna Slava, the celebration of a family's patron saint, Petkovic said.

He added that Serbia is ready to participate in regional nomination of Djurdjevdan (St. George's Day) in cooperation with regional countries, the Serbian Ministry of Culture released in a statement.

Prior to the conference, Minister Petkovic conferred with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova about protecting monasteries in KiM, preventing illicit trade in works of art and UNESCO's new initiative dubbed "Culture: a Bridge to Development."