12 April 2016 Aleksandar Cotric at the 22nd Annual Conference of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
22nd Annual Conference of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations on Refugee Problem
The City of Pirot is hosting the 22nd Annual Conference of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, 11-13 April, dedicated to the refugee problem.
Speaking of the Christian view of the refugee problem in light of the current situation, Cotric said:
“Serbia shares traditional ties of friendship with the people of the Middle East and is greatly concerned by the developments in the region. As a state we are doing all in our power to help resolve the crisis and cooperating with all those in the Middle East who seek a peaceful and lasting solution.
Serbia feels the effects of the Middle Eastern crisis. Only last year 600,000 refugees passed through its territory. This year that number is about 100,000. The refugees enter Serbia from Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania. On some days more than 2000 refugees crossed our borders. They all received adequate care, they were clothed, housed somewhere warm and dry, fed, and many received monetary assistance. The Serb people treated them humanely, like Christians, because they know what it is to be a refugee only too well. In World War One the entire Serbian Army, state administration and many of the citizens spent three years as refugees in Albania and Greece, retreating before the Austro-Hungarian and German military force. In World War Two several hundred thousand Serbs were exiled from the territories in today’s Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina occupied by the infamous Nazi Independent State of Croatia which in only one concentration camp – Jasenovac, killed 700,000 Serbian civilians, children, women, men and old people just because they were Serbian and Orthodox Christians. In the last Balkan wars more than half a million Serbs were exiled from Croatia, and from Bosnia and Herzegovina, territories controlled by Bosniaks (Muslims) and Croats, about half a million of Serbs were also exiled. Since 1998 more than 200,000 Serbs had to leave Kosovo-Metohija under the pressure of Albanian extremists and terrorists.
We are not a rich country or an EU member state, but we have decided to give 500,000 EUR for Syria through UNICEF this year.
Serious work and a responsible approach will help us solve these problems and, more importantly, make the world and even better and more successful place. In all we do we follow the principles of Christian teachings and our Orthodox faith, assured that, were it not for the principles of Jesus Christ the world would become the Grand Inquisitor, as described by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky.
Since the beginning of the crisis Serbia has strived to have a constructive approach and has supported all the activities concerning Syria, under the auspices of the UN and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General.
We have also contributed to the solution of the problem by joining the Anti-ISIS Coalition.
I believe that we do not need crises in other parts of the world, especially not in the Western Balkans, so Serbia will do all in its power to support the stability of the region and always be part of the solution, and never again part of the problem.”