Kocijančič: ZAO not same as ZSO

Maja Kocijančič; Photo: European Union

TANJUG_maliBRUSSELS – The association of Albanian municipalities (ZAO) formed in southern Serbia is not the same as the community of Serb municipalities (ZSO), the formation of which was agreed on in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue in Brussels, Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, said Tuesday.

The community of Serb municipalities is a result of subject-specific talks held as part of the dialogue on the normalization (of relations between Belgrade and Pristina), Kocijancic told reporters at the seat of the European Commission in Brussels.

Commenting on the position of the Albanian minority in Serbia, Kocijancic said that Serbia is obligated to treat all minorities in accordance with the guidelines of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights.

We expect Serbia to continue to act accordingly, said Kocijancic.

The representatives of five ethnic Albanian political parties in Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja decided on September 12 to set up an association of municipalities, drawing parallels to the setting up of a community of Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo, provided for by the Brussels agreement.

President of the Serbian government’s Coordination Body for the Municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja Zoran Stankovic said Sunday that the decision was contrary to the Constitution of Serbia, and that it meant nothing.

He also stressed that no parallels can be drawn between northern Kosovo and southern central Serbia, where the Albanian national minority enjoys all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, laws and international conventions.