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22. January 2016.

Presevo, Bujanovac, Medvedja – “The government is doing a good job in South Serbia. We haven’t had any larger problems since the beginning of the migrant crisis.  This situation is similar to the one regarding relations with the Albanians, who increasingly realize that the Government in Belgrade is the only place where they should and can have their problems solved, "said Zoran Stankovic, PhD, the President of the Coordination Body of the Government of the Republic of Serbia for the Municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja.  

He also mentioned the problem of textbooks in the Albanian language that Pristina had donated to the students and teachers in that part of Serbia and added that the Ministry of Education would have the final say in the matter

“I spoke on the issue with the Albanian leaders on several occasions. We agreed that the laws and procedures must apply to everyone. Jonuz Musliju, too, agreed with that,” Mr. Stankovic said.

He admits that he was criticized for having failed to more "vigorously" condemn the radical moves of the Albanian leaders. The deterioration of relations in South Serbia can’t possibly contribute to their normalization.

“It is naive to believe that something that has been going on for decades could change in a year or two.  That is why I don’t give "fiery" statements. It is far more important to begin solving the problem instead of talking about it”, Mr. Stankovic said.

He believes that increasingly more Albanians turn their eyes to Belgrade and not to Pristina or Tirana.

“We don’t ask them for anything more than what the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, told them in Presevo. He literally told them: "You must understand that you are Serbian citizens and your problem needs to be solved by the bodies of the Republic of Serbia". I think that they understand it, "said Mr. Stankovic.

He is convinced that that the idea whereby the Albanians in South Serbia should establish the Community of Albanian Municipalities, as a corresponding body to the Community of Serbian municipalities in Kosovo and Metohija, failed.  Of the seven Albanian political parties in South Serbia, the largest and most numerous ones voted against it, while not a single Albanian councilor in Medvedja voted for it, "Mr. Stankovic said.

Sources: News online and Coordination Body