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03 Nov 10

Plans for 'Greater Albania' by 2015, South Serbia Leader Says

Plans are being drawn up for all Albanians in the Balkans to live in a "greater Albanian state" by 2015, Orhan Rexhepi, an ethnic Albanian official from south Serbia, told Balkan Insight.

Bojana Barlovac
Belgrade

"We [Albanians from south Serbia] are preparing to realise the idea of a greater Albania to be formed by 2013 or 2015 at the latest," Rexhepi, the vice president of the Presevo assembly, said on Tuesday.

Talks on such a project were held over the weekend in Tirana, where the List for Natural Albania was presented for the first time. Rexhepi attended the meeting along with the mayor of Presevo, Ragmi Mustafa, and the leader of the Movement of Democratic Progress, Jonuz Musliu.

"I was in Tirana over the weekend to support the project and announce that my party [Albanian National Movement] will become part of the List [For Natural Albania] and take part in the next elections in Presevo," Rexhepi said.

The List for Natural Albania includes the groups and individuals who support the idea of a "natural", or "greater" Albania of one state for all ethnic Albanians in the Balkans, which would include parts of the territories of Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, and Serbia.

According to the project, Albanians in these countries would hold a referendum to plead for the establishment of the state.

Presevo valley, a largely ethnic Albanian region in south Serbia, would become part of a "greater Albania" according to the plan, Rexhepi said, explaining that the area has been part of Albanian territories in the past.

Tomo Zoric, spokesperson for the Serbian prosecutor's office, said that his office would check what ethnic Albanian leaders who hold official positions said at the meeting in Tirana.

"If we detect that there were elements of their speeches which violated the law, the prosecutor's office will initiate proceedings," Zoric told Balkan Insight.

In an unofficial referendum held in 1992, a majority of ethnic Albanians in the Presevo Valley expressed their desire to join Kosovo.

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Background

History and Politics of South Serbia

The South Serbia region, predominantly populated by ethnic Albanians, lies some 350 kilometres south of Serbia`s capital, Belgrade. In contemporary political language, the term “South Serbia” is understood to refer to the territory of three municipalities - Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja.

The Economy of South Serbia

A snapshot of South Serbia's business and industry

Education and Culture in South Serbia

Resources and institutions of South Serbia

South Serbia Demographics

Facts and figures on the population, ethnic composition and geography of South Serbia

Key Figures in South Serbia

Profiles of main political leaders in South Serbia

Key Political Parties in South Serbia

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In Pictures: The People of South Serbia

Snapshots of ordinary life in South Serbia show the people of Bujanovac and Presevo, and give a brief look at the symbols of the region.

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Presevo, the Internet Town on the Serbian Margins

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