South of Serbia Could Request to Join Kosovo

World | March 19, 2014, Wednesday // 13:16
Bulgaria: South of Serbia Could Request to Join Kosovo Presevo is located in the very southeast of Serbia near the Kosovo border. Map by BBC

Southern parts of Serbia could request to join Kosovo if Crimea is incorporated into Russia.

"If authorities in Moscow demand that Crimea join Russia, Tirana [Albania's capital] and Pristina [Kosovo's capital] should demand the same for Presevo valley," Jonuz Musliu, head of Bujanovac Municipality, was quoted as saying by Serbian radio B92 and CROSS news agency.

Presevo valley, as well as all South Serbian municipalities, Bujanovac, Presevo and Medvedja, are populated mainly by ethnic Albanians, who form a 90% majority.

Musliu claimed that, at a historic level, Presevo valley has always been part of Kosovo.

It was separated from Kosovo's administrative unit in 1948 by the Yugoslav communist leadership.

Misliu also reminded that Presevo's Albanian community had already demanded annexation to Kosovo through a referendum held on May 2, 1992, with support of the move amounting to 98%.

Bujanovac Municipality's head was himself a leader of pro-Albanmian militant group at the time of clashes that took place in Presevo in 1999-2001 as a follow-up to the Kosovo war.

Over the past decade, experts have raised fears that Presevo Valley could become "a second Kosovo" if Serbia, Kosovo and Albania's governments do not find a solution to the conflict.

After signing on Tuesday a decree accepting Ukraine's Crimea into Russia, President Vlamidir Putin, though dismissing parallels between Crimea's referendum and Moscow not recognizing Kosovo, cited the will of the peninsula's population as a reason to annex it.

Serbia, which is currently dealing with its political affairs after early elections on Sunday, has made no immediate comments on Musliu's remarks.

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Tags: Jonaz Musliu, Presevo, kosovo, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, Referendum
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