Saturday, March 10, 2007

Macedonia to buy contested borderlands with Kosovo

The Macedonian authorities reportedly visited the Kosovo village of Debalde located some one hundred meters away from Tanusevci and offered money to the residents for their land, the Macedonian newspaper Vreme reports, citing the Priština-based Lajm newspaper.

The Macedonian government did not comment on the information, which it said was unofficial. The Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) denied having sent members to buy lands.

Thursday, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Agim Ceku visited Debalde. He told the residents that “no one could deprive them of their property.”

Ceku stated “he hadn’t heard about the problem before” and shifted the responsibility to the Kosovo negotiating team.

The contested land covers 250,000 square meters. They are the major reason why the border between Macedonia and Kosovo there has not been marked yet.

UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari’s plan for Kosovo future status refers to the demarcation of the border in that area as “just a technical matter.” He proposes that the border be marked according to the existing line, which means that the land of the belonging to Kosovo residents would remain in the territory of Macedonia.

They would be able to enter Macedonia in order to cultivate their land only with special identity documents. The residents of Debalde, however, oppose such proposal. They said they “would not allow their lands to become part of the Macedonian territory”, the Macedonian media report.

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