The speaker of Kosovo's Assembly, Jakup Krasniqi, said that if Serbs from northern Kosovo wish to "secede", then "ethnic Albanians in southern Serbia are ready to join Kosovo".
Tanjug news agency quoted Krasniqi as saying to Pristina media that “if some of the Serbs are not ready to live in the northern part of Kosovo and think that they can break away, then the Albanians of the Presevo valley are ready to join Kosovo.”
The northern half of the northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica, a city which has been divided along ethnic lines since the end of the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo in 1999, remains largely under the control of Belgrade.
In order to bring the north of Kosovo under the control of Pristina, the International Civilian Representative in Kosovo, Pieter Feith, announced a plan last week which envisions elections and the creation of a new municipality. The strategy ran into fierce opposition from the Serbian government.
Upon announcing the plan, Feith said: "This has the potential to be a new beginning for everyone in the new municipality, with the final aim to make Mitrovicë/Mitrovica North a municipality with a positive, sustainable future, safe and prosperous for the people living there."
Commenting on the strategy created by the government of Kosovo and the ICO, Krasniqi said it was “very important for Kosovo Serbs", because it "creates a new municipality of Northern Mitrovica, which is an alternative that would function a lot better than the current situation."
“It would be best for Mitrovica to be one municipality, however, something like that is not possible currently. The creation of a new municipality and the integration of Serbs does not call for a division, but it is not a joining either. It is an effort to implement peace and order,” Krasniqi said.
On the other side of the border, the southern Serbia municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedja are home to Serbia's largest ethnic Albanian population outside of Kosovo.
Oliver Ivanovic, state secretary in the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija, has called on the international community to respond to Krasniqi's statement on the alleged readiness of the ethnic Albanians in south Serbia to join Kosovo.
"Serbia will not exchange a part of its own territory for another part of its own territory, nor are the concepts of division and of mutual exchange of territory topics for discussion. We have absolutely thrown those ideas out," Tanjug quoted Ivanovic as saying.
He also expressed his concern that representatives of the international community in Kosovo did not react to the "warmongering" declaration of the Kosovo official.
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