Reconciliation Plea to Serbia’s Albanians

04 November 2008 Presevo – Milan Markovic, the chairman of the Coordination Body for Southern Serbia, has called on ethnic Albanian leaders to re-enter reconciliation talks after claiming a key condition had been met.

Markovic, who met the mayors of Bujanovac, Presevo, and Medvedja, said the government had made a decision to recognise diplomas from universities in Kosovo, which was the condition set by ethnic Albanian leaders for participation in the Coordination Body.

Earlier Serbia’s Education Minister Zarko Obradovic, said Serbia would not recognise diplomas from Kosovo, which earlier this year declared independence in a move condemned by Belgrade.
Markovic, who is also the Minister for Local Governance announced that several development programmes, primarily in the economic sphere, will get underway early next year.
Shaip Kamberi, the mayor of Bujanovac, told Balkan Insight that the negotiations with Markovic “were going in the right direction,” adding that Albanians only had a few remaining objections to the Coordination Body’s new work strategy.
“Since the problem with diplomas was resolved, our objections relate to the slow integration of Albanians into state institutions, such as the judiciary and police, and stalling in the implementation of the region’s economic development,” said Kamberi.
Kamberi, who is also an official of the Party for Democratic Action of Riza Halimi, the only ethnic Albanian lawmaker in the Serbian Parliament, said that little had been done on Albanian integration and economic development in the previous period.
The border region of southern Serbia, mostly populated by ethnic Albanians, was in 2000 and 2001 the location of an armed conflict between Serbian security forces and ethnic Albanian insurgents. The conflict ended through the mediation of NATO and the international community.
The Serbian government formed a Coordination Body in late 2000, in order to promote reconciliation.
Markovic is the institution’s third chairman since it was formed.

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