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BANJALUKA, March 20 /SRNA/ - Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Radovan Viskovic stated Wednesday that preservation of the Cyrillic alphabet and Serbian language is an issue of survival of Serbs and that the Cyrillic Alphabet Forum, which is taking place in Banjaluka, is a chance to offer guidelines for fostering these values.


"There isn’t a more pressing duty than to maintain our identity and pride. Protection of the Cyrillic alphabet should be the focus of the Republika Srpska and Serbian governments,” Viskovic told the press ahead of the conference, in which representatives of governments, academic community and numerous experts from Srpska and Serbia are taking part.

Viskovic sadly concluded that institutions had not paid enough attention to the promotion of Cyrillic in the past and voiced hope that such mistakes would be corrected.

"I am certain that people who are professional, qualified and in charge will use the today’s forum to give guidelines and suggestions to holders of public positions as to how they should behave,” said the prime minister.

Authorities must insist on bringing Cyrillic back into regular use and education system, he said.

"It is a common practice on both sides of the Drina to use only the Roman alphabet in the signs on public institutions. We have to be committed alphabet from the lowest level to the highest to applying the Cyrillic. Cyrillic is our tradition which has to be maintained and preserved for our future generations. I hope we will correct this mistake on both sides of the Drina,” emphasised Viskovic.

The charter signed a fortnight ago implies that Republika Srpska and Serbia will work together to correct the mistakes and sustain the Cyrillic alphabet, he added.

"Major challenges lie ahead of us as others intend to deprive us of the Serbian language and minimise its significance,” said Viskovic, addressing the event participants.

He noted that the conference was a proper way for the academic and intellectual community to offer recommendations for further action and policy creation, which efforts will be fully supported by the Srpska Government.

"Our conclusions will not oblige just the competent ministry, but also the Government of Srpska and I hope also the Government of Serbia, because our common national goal is to preserve the Cyrillic alphabet and literature as it also means preserving the Serbs’ identity. By protecting the Cyrillic alphabet we protect our survival, culture and tradition,” noted Viskovic.

Discussing the Cyrillic’s global significance, Viskovic said that the Nobel Literature Award Laureate and a great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw considered Serbian Cyrillic the most perfect alphabet in the world and one complete and logical system.

"In his will he left a sum of money to an Englishman who manages to reform and simplify the English alphabet to be modelled after Vuk's Cyrillic alphabet, following the rule ‘one letter, one voice’ but as far as anyone knows, no one that could win the award has showed up yet,” said Viskovic.

He recalls that Swedish encyclopaedias state that Serbs have the most perfect alphabet in Europe.

"Swedish Slavonic scholars are supreme connoisseurs of the Serbian literature and their academy of science had experts as early as 100 years ago who followed developments in the South Slavic literatures. What I have just said obliges us now more than ever to sustain and nurture the Cyrillic alphabet,” said Viskovic.

Other participants of the Cyrillic Alphabet Forum are the Srpska Minister of Education and Culture Natalija Trivic, representatives of the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information, academic community, Matica Srpska from Novi Sad and the Association of Matica Srpska Members from Republika Srpska, as well as numerous experts. /end/ds