Has Sandzak recognized Kosovo? And how will Serbia react?

The Bosniak National Council (BNV) in Serbia has invited Behgjet Pacolli to visit as an official of "the Republic of Kosovo."

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug, Sputnik, RTS
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Sulejman Ugljanin (screen capture, file)
Sulejman Ugljanin (screen capture, file)

This raises the question of whether Sandzak (informal term for a region in southwestern Serbia) has recognized Kosovo?

According to media reports on Wednesday, both those in Kosovo and in Serbia, the BNV, headed for a long time by Sulejman Ugljanin, has sent a letter to Pacolli, "deputy prime minister and foreign minister of the Republic of Kosovo" to attend a ceremonial session of the BNV in the town of Novi Pazar.

Kosovo-based website KoSSev said, citing a document seen by Kosovo-based Klan Kosova broadcaster, that Pacolli has been invited to visit Novi Pazar on July 21 and 22, and tour Sandzak an Pester Plateau municipalities on the second day.

Pacolli for his part told Klan Kosova that he will travel to Novi Pazar if Serbian authorities give him permission.

Asked whether this means that the BNV has declared its recognition of Kosovo as an independent state, Milovan Drecun, chair of the Serbian National Assembly's Committee on Kosovo and Metohija, told Russia's Sputnik neither he nor Ugljanin have the right to speak on behalf of all citizens in the Raska-Polimlje region (Sandzak) - "in particular the Serbs who live there."

"Also, there are prescribed procedures that allow officials from provisional self-government institutions (in Kosovo) to come to Serbia, and our officials to go Kosovo and Metohija. No one has the right to invite anyone from these institutions to come to central Serbia outside of these procedures and outside the competent state authorities. For someone to invite the so-called foreign minister of a non-existent state? Well that is a message that they recognize this self-proclaimed state. There is no minister of foreign affairs (of Kosovo), there is no state of Kosovo, and no one can come from Kosovo in the capacity of a minister of foreign affairs," Drecun was categorical.

However, he added, "this is Ugljanin's usual way of finding his place in the public eye in an extreme political way."

"He is constantly trying to destabilize the situation in the Raska-Polimlje region, constantly creating some kind of problems, he is constantly on the verge of causing some incidents that could also turn into violence, and I think it's high time for a strong message to be sent to him that he cannot be doing that and violating the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia in the crudest way," Drecun said.

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric said on Thursday that Serbia will react in a serious, responsible, and dignified manner when it comes to Pacolli's possible visit.

He also told RTS that Serbia will react "contrary to expectations."

"They expect us to react to this inappropriately or with force. We will react seriously and responsibly, we will protect the dignity of Serbs and all other citizens of Serbia and we will not allow anyone to run riot in our territory. We will react in a way becoming a country," Djuric said.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic also touched on this topic today, to tell TV Pink that by inviting Pacolli, Ugljanin wants to stand out in the political scene.

"Ugljanin is seeking a place in the political sky and needs something to stand out in the political scene. It's the opposite of what he did while he was a member of the Serbian government. This is part of a political campaign that is being conducted and which is causing damage to the state," Dacic said.

The minister pointed out that there are clear procedures for travel for officials from Belgrade and Pristina when crossing the administrative lines, and recalled Pristina's treatment of Marko Djuric when he went to Kosovska Mitrovica.

"We certainly will not welcome (Pacolli) the way they they welcomed Marko Djuric," Dacic said of the Serbian official who was brutally arrested in Kosovo in March, and then added: "Although, if there was justice, we should."

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