Sunday, December 25, 2005

Albanians in south Serbia to demand same rights as Kosovo Serbs, says leader

Excerpt from report by Serbian independent news agency FoNet

Presevo, 25 December: Albanians in southern Serbia will advocate a stance that Kosovo Serbs should be granted as many rights as possible, so that they could ask for the same rights themselves, Presevo Speaker Ragmi Mustafa, who is also Presevo Mayor-designate and chairman of the Democratic Party of Albanians (DUA), told FoNet today.

Mustafa recalled that representatives of all political parties that rally Albanians in southern Serbia decided at a meeting with a Kosovo delegation [for Kosovo status talks] member, Veton Suroi, which was held some 10 days ago at the Kosovo Assembly, that he should represent them.

Suroi will be "the Presevo Valley ambassador" in these talks. "We will ask, through Suroi, that Albanians in the municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, as well as Kosovo Serbs, be granted full rights,", Mustafa said.

Albanians will, as he said, ask for the rights in the sphere of education to be improved, as well as for economy to develop, for the right to use national symbols, demilitarization of the region and its decentralization.

[Passage omitted: more on previously covered details]

He said that Albanians' decision to stay and live in Serbia "will depend on the outcome of talks between Pristina and Belgrade and the realization of Serbs' demands in Kosovo".

"Albanians in the Presevo Valley will have the same demands as Serbs in Kosovo," Mustafa said.

Source: FoNet news agency, Belgrade, in Serbian 1451 gmt 25 Dec 05

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