French and German diplomats in the breakaway province of Kosovo on Monday invoked the relocation of the memorial to Serbian soldiers who fell in the Balkan wars of the early twentieth century and World War I to make way for a memorial to NATO forces.
Stanisa Arsic, a local Serbian Orthodox priest, visited the cemetery in Pristina over the weekend and observed the memorial being moved. When he called the local police, he was told that the company managing the cemetery had moved it at the request of the French embassy. Local Albanian authorities said they had nothing to do with the incident.
France and Germany recognize Kosovo as an independent state and have made a joint offer “an offer” to Belgrade, saying it must do the same before it hopes to one day join the European Union. The envoys of Paris and Berlin in Pristina made a tradition of jointly celebrating the end of World War I, as they were on opposing sides.
“In recent years, and especially in 2022, this joint Franco-German celebration has been distorted by controversy in some Kosovo media over the presence of a stele in honor of Serbian soldiers who died between 1912 and 1918.” The two embassies said on Monday, confirming that it was the French embassy that was tasked with removing the memorial.
“This controversy was not only worthy of the memory of all the soldiers: the French, German and Serbian soldiers who died in the First World War, but also the eighteen French soldiers who died while serving in KFOR, in the protection of all communities in Kosovo.” The diplomats added.
“After that, we moved the stele in honor of the Serbian soldiers just a few meters away, with the utmost respect after informing the municipality.” He added Frenchman Olivier Giroud and German Jorn Ruud.
Apparently, no one saw fit to inform the Serbian community, or the Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Cape Prizren, which on Sunday evening issued a statement “deeply concerned” That someone was “Revising history and distorting the undeniable facts about the presence of the Serbian people in this region.”
Serbian forces, as part of the Balkan Alliance with Montenegro, Greece and Bulgaria, liberated Kosovo from the Ottoman Turks in 1912. A joint offensive by Austria-Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria in late 1915 saw fierce battles in Kosovo, to which the Serbs returned. In 1918 after the victory on the Thessaloniki front.
Many French troops took part in the 1918 operation, and the Pristina cemetery has long held a memorial to them as well. Beside “Taking off” Paris apparently ordered a revision of this monument, which now includes an inscription in Albanian alongside those in Serbian and French.