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Authorities in Kosovo demand from Serbia the return of 1200 artifacts

Authorities in Kosovo demand from Serbia the return of 1200 artifacts
Pristina, January 27, 2014/ Balkan Independent News Agency

A debate has been triggered in Kosovo for the return of the heritage works of art of the country and Serbia is asked to hand in at least 1200 artifacts for which Pristina claims that they’re still in Serbia.

These are 1200 artifacts of Kosovo which the government claims that Serbia has taken them during the last war in Kosovo.

In several occasions, the institutions of the country have appealed for them to be returned.

In the past few days, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) has demanded the inclusion of the issue of cultural artifacts taken by Serbia in 1999 in the talks taking place in Brussels.

Vehbi Miftari, member of the Cultural Committee of LDK says that Kosovo must focus on the integration of its cultural space in the European cultural mosaic, but above all, in the common cultural Albanian environment.

According to the documents of the Museum of Kosovo, there are 676 archeological exhibits and 571 ethnological exhibits missing.

Amongst the artifacts, there are works of art which relate to every domain, from nature to art, from craftsmanship to ethnology, religious, spiritual and archaic objects.

Representatives of the Museum of Kosovo say that Serbia has been keeping these antique works for 15 years. The Museum calls upon Serb authorities to return these artifacts to Kosovo, in the country of origins.

The Ministry of Culture of Kosovo shares the same opinion with LDK and the Museum. Minister Memli Krasniqi says that “A very precious treasury of the cultural heritage in Kosovo has been in Serbia for many years and authorities there, even 14 years later, have not shown their will to return them to their home, in the Museum of Kosovo”.

Krasniqi has repeatedly called on Serbia “to give back over 1200 artifacts that belong to Kosovo and which have been taken from the Museum of Kosovo since 1999”.

On the other hand, it’s not only Serbia that holds works belonging to the cultural heritage of Kosovo. Several antique works have also been identified in Germany. Minister Krasniqi says that 7 artifacts which had been smuggled, were returned to Kosovo by German authorities.

Krasniqi invites Serbia to take the example of Germany. “I repeat our calls addressed to authorities in Belgrade in order for our two countries to start as soon as possible the process of the return of these artifacts to the Museum of Kosovo, if we’re committed to follow European civilized values”.

Serbia manifests a cold approach in relation to this argument. Aleksandar Radvanovic, ambassador of Serbia in Slovenia has reacted about the request of the return of artifacts. According to him, the request for the return of artifacts aims to turn the issue of cultural heritage into a political issue.

Bur, Mr. Krasniqi insists that “the request for the return of artifacts is not at all political”.

The issue of the return of artifacts has not been discussed in the talks being held between Pristina and Belgrade in Brussels. Ministry of Culture of Kosovo says that this is due to Serbia’s refusal.

Kosovo currently has an important cultural heritage. Ministry of Culture says that this heritage has been created during the existence of antique civilizations and in the AD era.

This rich heritage, which is part of the world cultural heritage, is located in several areas of Kosovo, especially in towers and antique castles, archaeological parks and centers, state archives, galleries and museums, but also in many houses or other locations in the country. /ibna/

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