After the Albanian language Press Agency “Presheva Jone” announced that Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj will soon allow Albanians from Presevo and nearby Bujanovac to receive Kosovo “passports and citizenship,” Prva TV visited these two towns. Local politicians were not ready to talk about passports, while citizens were more interested in economic than in political stories.
Presevo Valley, After Catalonia, Could Request to Join Kosovo!
Kosovan Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who is well known for making inflammatory statements regarding Serbian territory, has again instigated tension by offering Kosovan citizenship to ethnic Albanian residents of southern Serbia.
According to Press agency “Presheva Jonë” in Presevo on Monday Haradinaj told a meeting of Albanian representatives from the southeast Serbian regions of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedj that the residents of “east Kosovo” will be able to get a Kosovan passport “not in a matter of months or days, but hours.”
The Serbian government has reacted coolly to the latest provocation from Pristina. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that the topic of Kosovan passports for the residents of southern Serbia is “not open for debate,” while President Alexander Vucic said, “I don’t know what they’ll do with a Kosovan passport,” adding sarcastically, “they’ll get far with it.”
However, the analyst warned that Haradinaj’s posturing is dangerous because it increases tensions between Serbs and Albanians living in Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedj, a region which Albanians call the “Presevo Valley.” The area saw armed conflict between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and ethnic Albanian separatists from 1999 to 2001.
According to Press Ageny “Presheva Jonë”, one of the participants in the meeting with Haradinaj was Sefket Musliju, a former commander of the so-called Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB). Musliju, who is from Bujanovac, is wanted in Serbia for war crimes.
Ramush Haradinaj, who was elected Kosovan Prime Minister in June, has also been charged with war crimes by prosecutors in Serbia, although Belgrade’s request for extradition from France was rejected earlier this year.
Haradinaj is a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army and faced charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for war crimes and crimes against humanity, although he was acquitted in April 2008. He also served as Prime Minister between 2004 and 2005.
During pre-election campaigning earlier this year, Haradinaj caused outrage in Serbia when he called for more Serbian territory to be annexed in favor of Kosovo, whose government made a unilateral declaration of independence from Belgrade in 2008.
Serbia should “delete Kosovo from the Constitution” or see “one-third third of Serb land added to the Kosovo map,” Haradinaj declared.
Musliu also called on the international community to recognize the ethnic Albanian referendum in southern Serbia held in 1992
Serbia should accept a referendum from March 1992 in accordance with the UN Charter, which guarantees the self-determination of indigenous peoples, sought by the leader of the Albanians from the Presevo Valley, Jonuz Musliu.
The head of the National Committee of the Albanians in the Valley, Jonuz Musliu, says that this process must take place in compliance with the 1-2 March 1992 referendum. “Such act is also in compliance with international conventions and UNO Charter, which guarantees the right of self determination”, he says.
Musliu claimed that, at a historic level, Presevo valley has always been part of Kosovo. It was separated from Kosovo’s administrative unit in 1948 by the Yugoslav communist leadership.
Musliu also reminded that Presevo’s Albanian community had already demanded annexation to Kosovo through a referendum held on March 1-2, 1992, with support of the move amounting to 98%. He reminded that there are more than 100,000 inhabitants in the Presevo Valley living in three Albanian municipalities in Medvedja, Bujanovac and Presevo, who have a legal act on the will of the majority of Albanians in the valley, and Serbia should take this into account.