Albanians from Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja in South Serbia will ask that the Kosovo leaders, Hashim Thaçi and Ramush Haradinaj, to represent them and their interests in Brussels.
Additionally, the Albanian minority in Serbia will ask for the same rights that Serbia is seeking for the Serbian minority in Kosovo and Metohija. The Albanians from the south of Serbia have also said that they would put their demands in a declaration to be written at a joint session of the three municipalities.
“Since Serbia is negotiating on behalf of the north of Kosovo, we want to authorize Kosovo’s leadership to negotiate on behalf of our interests. We are not satisfied with our rights as a minority. I have tried to do things differently, to be part of the ruling majority in Serbia and to do something, but I couldn’t. It is not good that the disagreements between Belgrade and Pristina are reflected on us”, said an MP Fatmir Hasani, one of the initiators of this declarations for the Blic.
Their requirements do not stop here. Comparing the Albanian minority in Serbia to the Serbian minority in North Kosovo, Hasani practically demands that representatives of the Albanian minority get high positions in the Government of Serbia.
According to him, Serbs in Kosovo have three ministries, they have deputy prime ministers, five deputy ministers, while Albanians in Serbia do not have any of that.
The Albanians in Serbia are also not too happy with the work done by the National Body for Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, which represents the Albanian national minority in Serbia. Hasani underlines that municipalities in the south receive some funds from that body, but that the National Body is not run by an Albanian (which is one of their demands), as well as that there are Serbs in the National Body than Albanians.
This initiative, i.e. that Kosovo leaders represent Albanians in Serbia within the framework of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, is nothing new – says Zoran Stankovic, President of the Coordination Body for Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja. A similar attempt happened in 2006, then in 2013, and this will be their third attempt.
“The international community has already made it clear to them on several occasions that they are not the subject of the talks in Brussels. It seems somewhat inconsistent that Hasani, who is a member of the Serbian Parliament, and who has all the rights to submit initiatives and legal proposals, is going about it the different way”, says Stankovic.
The talks between Pristina and Belgrade, under the auspices of the EU, are focusing on other issues while those relating to the Albanian and all other national minorities are resolved through the Constitution of Serbia, laws and conventions on national minorities.
“As far as we are concerned, the situation is stable, we have regular activities and contacts with the authorities in all three municipalities that are operating according to the laws of Serbia, so there are no problems. The most important thing is to achieve a better life for citizens, and that is what we are working on”, says Stankovic.
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