Serbs want "strong community of municipalities"
Councilors from ten Serb municipalities have adopted "a decision on united political action, protection of rights and realization of interests of Serbs."Source: Tanjug
This would happen "through the constitution of a strong community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo (ZSO)," Tanjug reported. The meeting on Wednesday also asked for a harmonized draft of the ZSO statute to be submitted to a joint meeting of municipal assemblies.
According to the Serbian Government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija, "councilors from municipalities with Serb majority requested constitutional and legal provisions concerning the number of Serbs in institutions and public enterprises on all levels to be respected, as well as adequate representation of Serbs in municipalities where Serbs do not constitute majority population."
In the conclusions, they "insist on the principle according to which their presence in institutions on all levels and selection of Serb staff is in exclusive jurisdiction of appointed Serb political representatives."
The councilors also called for protection of property and rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church and noted that new laws on issues of importance for the Serb community should be adopted only with the consent of appointed Serb representatives.
Serb List leader Aleksandar Jablanovic said on Wednesday that the Albanian side also had a share in the responsibility to set up a community of Serb municipalities (ZSO) in Kosovo.
Speaking at a meeting of representatives of Serb-majority municipalities in Gracanica, Jablanovic said that the Kosovo government should show a constructive approach and implement what it had signed in practice.
“We should not be looking at any new agreements before seeing that which has been signed implemented, and I hope that we will leave this meeting more united,” said Jablanovic, who was prime minister in the Kosovo government before Prime Minister Isa Mustafa dismissed him from his position as minister of returns in February.
Jablanovic was dismissed for branding a group of ethnic Albanians as “savages.” The group threw stones at and broke the windshield of a bus carrying displaced Serbs and prevented them from visiting the graves of their ancestors on the day before the Serbian Orthodox Christmas.
"We should all focus on one single goal and it should lead to not having any one city or town in KiM where Serbs cannot go to, to not having to observe Orthodox holidays under police escort, to letting people know where their ancestors’ graves are and to having the rights guaranteed to the Serbs on paper respected on the ground," said Jablanovic.
Director of the Office for Kosovo Marko Djuric said that members of the assemblies of the Serb-majority municipalities gathered in Gracanica on Wednesday to create the political conditions for setting up the community of Serb municipalities (ZSO).
The aim of the meeting is to see how the Serb communities in Kosovo will work together to resolve issues of importance to the local communities and how they will prepare development projects together, he said.
Djuric said that those goals were "reachable" and that they were not detrimental to Belgrade’s and Pristina’s efforts to find a formula for cooperation and a way to coexist.
“These goals and priorities concern the survival and future of our people in Kosovo and Metohija,” Djuric said, pointing out that the Serbs "wanted to elect their representatives in all Pristina’s institutions by themselves, rather than have them elected by somebody else."