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Ethnic diversity promoted in southern Serbia

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Belgrade, June 7, 2005 - Serbia-Montenegrin Minister of Human Rights and Minorities Rasim Ljajic and German Ambassador in Belgrade Andreas Zobel signed today an agreement entitled "Alphabet of Tolerance and the Vojvodina Example" for a German donation to a programme of strengthening mutual trust in Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja.

The project has been estimated at €26,700 and will introduce an elective subject called "Alphabet of Tolerance" in high schools in those municipalities, and send young leaders from southern Serbia to Vojvodina, where they will have a chance to learn about successful concepts of coexistence of different ethnic groups.

Ljajic reminded that the country and international donors have so far invested more than €61 million in southern Serbia since 2000. "Our strategy is based on economic, political, and ethnical measures, and the creation of preconditions for peaceful development of southern Serbia", Ljajic pointed out.

Zobel emphasised that everyone must be active in promoting trust between the ethnic communities and that economic programmes are an important factor to the people who live in those three municipalities.

According to him, Germany has so far invested €6 million in southern Serbia through various projects. The aim of this project is to promote tolerance and reduce national tensions.