photo_verybig_132302Local government representatives demand same status as that enjoyed by Kosovo’s Community of Serb Municipalities · Councillors commission drafting of a statute · Serbian government rejects move, says no parallel exists between both territories, report Nationalia , transmete the National Information Agency “Presheva Jonë”

Local government representatives of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja on Saturdayunveiled a project to create an autonomous community in Albanian-majority areas in southern Serbia along the Kosovo border. Out of 114 councillors in the three municipalities, established an informal association with the aim, they say, to achieve the same degree of autonomy that Kosovo Serbs will enjoy.

In Kosovo, Serb-majority municipalities will be grouped under the Community of Serb Municipalities, which is set to be granted partial, ambigous autonomy over several areas, including economy, health, education, and urban and rural planning.

Albanian representatives of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja have for years argued that the three municipalities should be given the same treatment as Kosovo’s Serb-majority towns. Thus, Albanian councillors of the three municipalities have commissioned a committee to prepare the draft of a statute similar to the one foressen for the Community of Serb municipalities.

The government of Serbia has rejected the move. The president of the Coordinating Body for Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, Zoran Stankovic, said that no parallels can be made between the three Albanian-majority municipalities and the Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo. Stankovic further said that no representative of any other country supports the creation of an autonomous community of Albanian municipalities -the Community of Serb Municipalities, by contrast, is the outcome of an Serbia-Kosovo-EU deal.

Presevo and Bujanovac together make up the Presevo Valley, where Albanians are approximately 75% of the population. The valley borders Kosovo and Macedonia. Medvedja is about 40 kilometers further north, with approximately 25% of its population being Albanian and inhabiting an area bordering Kosovo too.