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News 29 Jul 16

Meeting in Serbia Calls for Bosniak Unity

Members of the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, and the Bosniak Party of Montenegro met in the Serbian town of Novi Pazar on Friday to foster unity between Bosniaks from all over the Balkan region.

Rodolfo Toe, Milivoje Pantovic
BIRN
Sarajevo, Belgrade
Bakir Izetbegovic (third from the left) on Friday in Novi Pazar. Photo: Anadolu.

Politicians from Bosnia's Party of Democratic Action, SDA, its sister Bosniak parties in Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Croatia, as well as members of the Bosniak Party of Montenegro, met in the southern Serbian town of Novi Pazar on Friday to foster unity between Bosniaks throughout the Balkans.

"Bosniaks have become a political actor without whom it will be impossible for anybody to make any kind of calculations on the future of the Balkans," the Bosniak member of the Bosnian Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, who is also President of the Bosnian SDA, told the meeting.

He said Bosniaks had defended their right to an existence, a name and a language but much remained to be done when it came solving open issues for Bosniaks in former Yugoslavia.

The meeting in Novi Pazar marks the 26th anniversary of the foundation of the local branch of of SDA in Serbia's southern Sandzak region, which was created on July 29, 1990.

Izetbegovic stressed that it was the first time he had paid an official visit to the mainly Bosniak city. “I have visited Belgrade a few times in the past, but this is the first time that I come to Novi Pazar," Izetbegovic noted.

Ahead of his trip, Serbian media criticised his decision to organise his visit without first informing the authorities in Belgrade.

But Izetbegovic csaid there was "nothing problematic" about the visit. "We all see that the President and Prime Minister of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic and Aleksandar Vucic, have frequently visited Banja Luka and Trebinje [in Bosnia] and we do not consider their decision as bypassing the authority of Sarajevo. This is the same thing," he assured.

Izetbegovic began his visit to Novi Pazar by chairing a meeting of the sister parties of the SDA from Sandzak, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia.

During this session, the coordination body of the SDA adopted a declaration on common goals for the different branches of the party, amongst which were EU and NATO integration, and regional cooperation based on good neighbourly relations and mutual respect.

He also took part in a ceromonial session of the Bosniak National Council, BNV, a representative body of the Bosniak minority in Serbia, which was founded in 1991.

The session was attended by the mayor of Novi Pazar, Nihat Bisevac, the presidents of the two municipalities of Tutin and Sjenica, Semsudin Kucevic and Hazbo Mujovic, and by Bosniak members of the Serbian parliament. The controversial former Mufti of Sandzak, Muamer Zukorlic, was not present, however.

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