Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Albanian councilors "to legalize" controversial memorial

PREŠEVO -- Officials of six ethnic Albanian parties from the south agreed on Wednesday to take "all necessary steps to legalize the monument in Preševo".
The monument to UCPMB members in downtown Preševo (Beta)
The monument to UCPMB members in downtown Preševo (Beta)
The memorial honors members of the former ethnic Albanian so-called Liberation Army of Preševo, Bujanovac and Medvedja (OVPBM; UCPMB).
The organization was considered a terrorist group for launching attacks against soldiers, policemen and civilians in the southern regions of Serbia in 2000 and 2001.

Head of the Preševo municipality Ragmi Mustafa told reporters it meant the matter needed to be sorted legally so the monument would remain at the square outside the Preševo municipality building.

"We are doing this according to the law of the Republic of Serbia and the order we received from the Justice Ministry, because Preševo is one of many municipalities that do not have regulations concerning this," Mustafa stated.

That is why an early meeting of the Preševo municipal assembly was called on Wednesday, to initiate the procedure that will make sure all the historical and cultural monuments in Preševo have the necessary papers.

The meeting will be used to make decisions that are going to make it possible to get everything done according to Serbia's law within several days, through an emergency procedure, Mustafa pointed out.

He called on the authorities to show more understanding for the situation and willingness to settle the issue with the monument in the easiest way.

"I think we now need tolerance and patience," he said, and appealed to the Serbian president and prime minister to show more understanding for the needs of the Albanian community.

The participants of the meeting between the leaders of parties representing the Albanian national minority in southern Serbia, which was attended also by head of the Preševo municipal administration Muhamed Abdulahu, asked again for support from western embassies and the international community.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has said Serbia "will not provoke conflict, but will also not stand to be provoked".

The deadline for taking down the illegally displayed monument in downtown Preševo expired at midnight Tuesday, and the prime minister said the police would take action to remove it.

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