“Request of ethnic Albanians won't be discussed in Brussels”

BELGRADE -- Coordination Body for Southern Serbia Chairman Zoran Stanković says that a request of ethnic Albanians from southern Serbia will not be discussed in Brussels.

Zoran Stanković (Tanjug, file)
Zoran Stanković (Tanjug, file)

The Albanians from southern Serbia have requested to have the same rights as northern Kosovo Serbs.

When asked to comment on announcements of leaders of Albanian political parties that they would demand that the issue of their status be solved together with the future status of northern Kosovo, Stanković told Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) that there were no parallels between the two situations.

“We have not received requests from a declaration that the Albanians from southern Serbia adopted on March 9. I think this is some kind of pressure on the Brussels negotiations about the status of Serb municipalities in Kosovo. The declaration cannot be on the negotiating table in Brussels,” he pointed out.

Stanković added that the only document that the negotiations were based on was the platform harmonized on February 25 and not the declaration that the Albanian councilors of Bujanovac, Preševo and Medveđa adopted on March 9.

“The nine-point platform we harmonized with representatives of Albanians from southern Serbia and OSCE Mission on February 25 lists the problems on whose solving state and local authorities in the three municipalities in southern Serbia should work together so people in the area could start living better,” the Coordination Body for Southern Serbia chairman explained.

He reiterated that positions for future talks with representatives of the Preševo Valley Albanians had been harmonized during recent visit of OSCE Mission to Serbia Head Peter Burkhard to the three municipalities.

“We agreed to solve problems with short-term, medium-term and long-term measures. One of the short-term measures we will implement by the beginning of 2014 refers to the Albanians’ complaints that birth records are only in the Cyrillic alphabet,” Stanković said.

He noted that, according to plans, medium-term solutions would be achieved by 2015 and long-term ones after 2015.