Parties, officials react to removal of monumentSource: Beta, Tanjug
BELGRADE -- The removal of the monument in Preševo was a “forced“ decision of the state of Serbia, Deputy PM and Trade Minister Rasim Ljajić has said.
He added that he did not expect destabilization in southern Serbia after the removal and called on everyone to calm down and continue solving fundamental issues.
“The law has to apply to every part of Serbia’s territory, the rule of law needs to function and this is the only message that the state wanted to send,” Ljajić told Belgrade-based Pink TV.
He stressed that a proposal to place the monument to a yard of the local mosque or to a yard of the local cultural center would not be accepted.
“I am not sure that the monument, if it had remained where it was, would have helped improve the standard of living of the local population,” Ljajić stressed, adding that the monument honoring Albanian extremists was an “obvious provocation”.
“The provocation was aimed at testing the state’s patience and at placing the Albanians from the south into the center of attention again, at drawing attention to themselves, bearing in mind that the Belgrade-Priština negotiations were underway,“ he explained.
“The United Regions of Serbia (URS) supports the removal of the monument honoring members of the so-called Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa, and Bujanovac (UCPMB) because citizens in the entire territory of Serbia need to respect the laws,” said URS Presidency member Verica Kalanović.
“The URS has since its founding advocated for equal chances for citizens in the entire territory, including equal obligations. Citizens in the entire territory need to respect the laws,” she added.
Kalanović noted that the state would have done the same with any other inappropriate monument in any part of Serbia.
“Preševo should focus on solving piled up economic issues,” she stressed.
The Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) does not expect any unrest in Preševo over the removal of the terror group monument, SNS official Goran Knežević has said.
“We will do everything to prevent unrests, the states needs to function,” he told a press conference.
He reiterated that SNS leader and First Deputy PM Aleksandar Vučić had stated earlier that the state would remove the controversial monument if the local authorities in Preševo did not remove it themselves.
Gendarmerie officers removed the monument in downtown Preševo on Sunday morning without any incidents.