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news 27 Nov 13

Serbian Albanians Seek Cash From Kosovo, Albania

Ethnic Albanian leaders in South Serbia say they will ask the parliaments of Albania and Kosovo to include their municipalities in their budgets for 2014.

Beta, BIRN

Jonuz Musliu, president of an ethnic Albanian party, the Movement for Democratic Progress, on Tuesday said that the Albanian community in southern Serbia will seek financial help from Kosovo and Albania.

"If 45 million euro is being allocated to [Serb-run northern] Kosovo in the Serbian budget [for 2014], funds should be earmarked for the municipalities of Bujanovac and Presevo in the Kosovo and Albanian budgets," Musliu said.

According to him, a written request signed by all ethnic Albanian political leaders from the Presevo valley area in Serbia will soon be sent to Pristina and Tirana.

The request comes days after Albanians quit talks with Serbia's government, after it rejected their proposal on re-establishing local courts and prosecutor's offices in the area.

The south of Serbia is home to 50,000 or so ethnic Albanians who live on the border with mainly Albanian Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.

In 2001, the region saw an armed conflict between the security forces and Albanian rebels, which ended with the help of the international community and NATO.

Armed conflict has not returned since then, but discontent remains high, especially since the authorities in January removed a monument erected last November to the rebel fighters in 2001, in the Albanian stronghold of Presevo.

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