The European Union welcomed the postponement by the Government of Kosovo of postponing for one month the application of the ban on Serb documents and license plates on its territory. The decision is due to the tensions registered on Sunday night at two border points between the two countries. Serbian leaders get ready to talk with Kosovo.
The Government of Kosovo has decided to postpone for a month, until September 1, the application of the prohibition of Serbian documents and license plates in its territory after the tensions that took place on Sunday night at two border points between the two countries.
According to a statement, the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti made the postponement conditional on the removal of the barricades set up by local Serbs in protest at the measure.
For Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, it is a reciprocal measure with Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, which does not accept documents or license plates from Kosovo either. Kosovo gained independence from Serbia in 2008, of which it was until then an autonomous region. However, various ethnic and territorial tensions and misgivings have never ceased to be latent.
The Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, declared that he is working “to calm down the situation.” In addition, he assured that he has asked international representatives for help so that Kosovo postpones its decisions and continues the dialogue for the solution of the problems.
After the tensions, this Monday, August 1, the European Union (EU) urged the authorities of Kosovo and Serbia to negotiate in Brussels to resolve their disagreements within the framework of the dialogue sponsored by the bloc to normalize their relations.
“The EU has invited both parties to meet in Brussels to discuss the way forward, find solutions and prevent these tensions from coming up again,” said Peter Stano, spokesman for EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.
“It is in our interest to talk, it is in our interest that the dialogue is working,” said Petar Petkovic, head of the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo.
The measure postponed this Monday alleviates, for the moment, the growing ethnic tensions in the country, causing the riots by the Serb minority that set up roadblocks.
The community spokesman made it clear that “all pending issues between Kosovo and Serbia have to be addressed within the framework of the dialogue facilitated by the EU”, something that “is important for the citizens of Kosovo and Serbia and for the perspectives of both countries in the European Union”.
“Everyone has to remain calm; any uncoordinated unilateral action that endangers stability and security on the ground and impedes the free movement of citizens there has to be stopped immediately,” the spokesman said.
What do the new measures contain?
People entering Kosovo with Serbian identity cards will receive a temporary Kosovar document valid for 90 days. In addition, license plates issued by Serbia for Kosovar cities with a Serb majority will have to be replaced by official Kosovo ones.
The ban on driving in Kosovo with Serbian license plates already led to roadblocks in September 2021 by the Kosovar Serb minority. Kosovo reacted by deploying special forces and Serbia raised the alert level of its troops near the border.
On Sunday night, strong tensions arose between Kosovo and Serbia with blockades of border crossings and roads, a few hours before the beginning of the application (already postponed today) by Pristina of the ban on Serbian documents and license plates in Kosovo.
The country announced this decision at the end of June, similar to the one that last September generated a crisis that implied that the two countries increased their security forces on the border.
Kosovo and Serbia have been carrying out difficult and unsuccessful negotiations since 2011 to normalize their relations and accuse each other of attempts to destabilize the region.
The former Serbian province proclaimed in 2008 an independence that Belgrade does not recognize and that has been supported by the United States and most of the EU partners, but not by Russia, China, India, Brazil or Spain, among other states.
With EFE and AP