Valley Albanians push for talks on merging with Kosovo

BUJANOVAC -- An ethnic Albanian party has called for talks on the Preševo Valley’s “merger” with Kosovo.

The Movement for Democratic Progress on June 5 called on the Valley Albanian parties from the southern Serbian municipalities of Bujanovac and Preševo to form a joint body, or national council, which, as a representative of the Albanian community, would start negotiations with the Serbian government about merging these municipalities with Kosovo.

The president of the Movement for Democratic Progress and deputy chief of the Bujanovac municipality, Jonuz Musliu, in a written message called on the leaders of all Albanian political parties from Bujanovac and Preševo to form a joint National Council.

"I believe it is time to form a National Council which would adopt a joint platform, with which we would start negotiations with the Serbian government about merging the Bujanovac and Preševo municipalities with Kosovo," Musliu told Beta.

As a reason for this request, he cited the fact that, six years after the end of the conflict in this region, "nothing has changed in the political and economic sense, except for the forming of multi-ethnic police."

Musliu said he will not request that the National Council is made part of Priština's negotiating team for talks on the future status of Kosovo, but that it would negotiate directly with Belgrade about merging Bujanovac and Preševo with Kosovo.

Musliu said that nobody from the other Albanian parties has yet declared a stance on this proposal, but that talks had yet to begin.

Five Albanian political parties have representatives in the municipal assemblies of Bujanovac, Preševo and Medveđa: the Party for Democratic Action, the Democratic Union of the Valley, the Democratic Party of the Albanians, the Movement for Democratic Progress and the Movement for the Democratic Progress of Preševo.