Leaders of three ethnic Hungarian parties in Serbia’s northern Vojvodina province have stepped up a drive for the autonomy of some 340.000 of their co-nationals living in Serbia.
In an open letter to Serbian president Boris Tadic and prime minister Vojislav Kostunica, the leaders said talks on the status of ethnic Hungarians should be held in parallel with the negotiations on the final status of Kosovo province, where majority Albanians demand independence.
The letter, was signed by the leader of the Democratic Party of Vojvodina Hungarians, Andras Agoston; Sandor Pal, president of the Democratic Community of Vojvodina Hungarians and by Laslo Rac Szabo, president of the Hungarians’ Civic Alliance.
The leader of the fourth ethnic Hungarian party, the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, Josef Kasa, has carried the issue of all the way to the European parliament, which recently passed a resolution expressing concern at “alarming and constant violations of ethnic and minority rights in Vojvodina province”.
The ethnic Hungarian leaders emphasized that “fundamental debate on possible forms of autonomy for all minorities in Serbia could only contribute to the general atmosphere of the talks”. The talks on the final status of Kosovo, headed by a special United Nations representative Martti Ahtisaari, are expected to start in January, AKI reports.