Bosniak leader wants UN troops in southwestern Serbia

Bosniak National Council (BNV) leader Sulejman Ugljanin wants the United Nations and other international institutions to "intervene" in Serbia.

Source: Vecernje novosti, Tanjug
Sulejman Ugljanin (Tanjug, file)
Sulejman Ugljanin (Tanjug, file)

Ugljanin is a Bosniak (Muslim) politician and former cabinet minister from Serbia's southwestern region known informally as Sandzak.

He has sent a request to the UN Security Council to "immediately and without delay" send international forces to that area "to prevent conflicts and take other measures to protect the Bosniak people in this part of Serbia," writes Belgrade-based daily Vecernje Novosti.

The decision to invite UN force was "made under cover of night, on Saturday evening," said the article, adding it was taken during an extraordinary session of the "rump" BNV, considering that 17 councilors from the "For Bosniaks, Sandzak, and the Mufti" list did not attend. They claim they were not consulted about the items on the agenda.

According to a statement issued by the BNV, agreed on by Ugljanin's remaining 18 councilors, "the entire international community is urged to establish a special mission in order to prevent conflicts and stop the further intimidation and threats against Bosniaks, but also preventively stop a new wave of state terror, crimes and ethnic cleansing in Sandzak."

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic told the newspaper that the request was nonsensical and that "no one in the world will react to it."

"Peace and stability in Serbia are not threatened. This is an obvious and big provocation aimed at triggering a destabilization of the country," he stated.

Another Bosniak politician from the region, Deputy Prime Minister Rasim Ljajic, said that Ugaljanin's request is "nothing new" and that the Serbian government "should not react."

"For 25 years Ugljanin has been asking for one and the same thing, and nothing will come of it. The man has remained trapped in the 1990s. The demands made no sense then, and even less now, and will end up in a trash can at the offices of the EU and the UN. If the government were to react to such nonsense it would have no time to deal with anything else," Ljajic told Vecernje Novosti.

As announced, the BNV has addressed the OSCE, the EU, and the Council of Europe - for the sake of "protecting Bosniaks who are a nation under threat discriminated against in Serbia," and whose position is "untenable."

Serbian Assembly's Committee for Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality chairman Meho Omerovic strongly condemned the request sent to the UN Security Council, which calls on this international body "to provide international forces to prevent conflicts and protect Bosniaks from of terror, repression and assimilation, and the Council Europe and the OSCE to establish a special observer mission in Sandzak, which is under the administration of Serbia."

"Ugljanin has in the crudest possible way abused the BNV, put it into the function of his sick desire to preserve a bit of some sort of power, at the cost of spreading fear. This insane call is only a confirmation that the man has lost all contact with reality. The rhetoric of representing the situation in Sandzak as a place ruled by terror, repression and assimilation is seriously sick, but also very dangerous," said Omerovic.

He added that Ugljanin is trying to spread fear in order to gain "some votes."

"If Bosniaks should be protected from someone, they should be protected precisely from Ugljanin. He is disgracing the institution of the BNV, using it for the most base and terrible spreading of lies, fear, of disturbing all citizens," said Omerovic.


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