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20. July 2020.

Belgrade, Bujanovac - Zoran Stakovic, the President of the Coordination Body for the Municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, said for the "Jugpress" portal that the establishment of the local self-government in Bujanovac exclusively by the Albanian parties had been expected.  

“We more or less expected it because it had been previously agreed at one of the meetings of the Albanian leaders with Tirana and Pristina ", Mr. Stankovic said.

"I can only congratulate them and wish them successful work," said Mr. Stankovic, who pointed out that “the state shall provide all citizens in the area of these three municipalities, as well as to those in other parts of the country, full economic and any other form of security and safety. We shall do our best to improve life in those areas as much as we currently can".

When asked whether Belgrade tacitly agreed with the agreement on the establishment of a single-ethnic Albanian government in the multiethnic Bujanovac, where, in addition to the Albanians, the Serbs and Roma live too, Mr. Stankovic said:

“I think that not only Belgrade, but no one can agree with the establishment of a mono-ethnic government in an interethnic environment. I think it was desirable to form an interethnic coalition, as in the previous period, which could, in any way, as before, respond to the tasks, which are now quite a challenge," he said.  

"But," Mr. Stankovic added, "If someone has decided that it is best to be in power alone, within one national community, and if that is in their best interest, then it is fine. It is important that the law was obeyed, just as they will have to obey the laws of the Republic of Serbia during their management of the municipality of Bujanovac ", Mr. Stankovic said.

When asked whether and to what extent the Coordination Body for the Municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja was involved in the preparations for the establishment of the local coalition, because one of the adopted principles during the formation of that state body was the multiethnic coalition in power, Mr. Stankovic replied that it was not included in the description of the Coordination Body’s competencies.  

“We are only obliged to coordinate between the local authorities and state institutions. We do not have the right and we were not, in any way, engaged in the elections, and we did not participate in the establishment of coalitions in the previous period, either. It is a matter of a political agreement between the parties that won the votes. We should not participate in the next period either, considering the mandate that we have in that area ", Mr. Stankovic said.

At the indication that the decision on the mono-ethnic government in Bujanovac, in which the Serbian and Roma councilors will be in opposition, is quite alarming for the people who live in the area, because they do not know what the future holds for them, Mr. Stankovic said:

“I have already said that several times - Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja are parts of the Republic of Serbia and they shall remain so, while the citizens who live in that area shall exercise all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the law."

The President of the Coordination Body claims that there is no reason for any fear or uncertainty.

“No one has the right to oppress other people or otherwise complicate life in those areas. This is our task and we will strive to do it together with the local self-government and the people living in those areas, as well as with the international community, which is present in those areas and which informs international institutions in charge of monitoring the life and work in that area, such as the OSCE”, said Mr. Stankovic, who often comes to South Serbia with his associates from the Coordination Body’s Office, the seat of which is in Belgrade.

At the statement that the residents of Bujanovac perceive this as a confirmation of the speculations that there is an agreement that Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja are the territories that should be exchanged in the process of resolving the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, Mr. Stankovic said:

"Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedja were, are and shall remain integral parts of the Republic of Serbia, regardless of the wishes and speculations of either side for that to happen."  

Source: Jugpress and Coordination Body