Kosovo's government said on February 4, 2010 it would allow the ceremonial enthronement of Irinej, patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, in a monastery in the breakaway province, but would not tolerate political speeches, the International Orthodox Christian News website reports.
"If his (Irinej's) request is of religious character I do not think we will refuse it," Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci told reporters in Pristina. "If his visit is a political one, we will be very careful in presenting our stand," he added.
Serbian media reported on February 3 that Belgrade and Pristina were heading for a feud over Irinej's enthronement, as the government of Serbia has no intention to ask permission from Kosovo officials to hold the ceremony in the Pec monastery on April 25, 2010.
The Pec monastery in western Kosovo has been the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church patriarch since the 13th century. It has been under the protection of peacekeepers from NATO since the Kosovo war in 1999.
Kosovo broke away from Serbia and declared its independence in 2008, but it is not recognized by the United Nations, the European Union, and most nations of the world.