After high tensions, Kosovo postpones entry into force of new rules on Serbian border

After high tensions, Kosovo postpones entry into force of new rules on Serbian border

Barricades were erected on Sunday evening on roads to Serbia, in protest of the government’s border policy. The NATO Mission in Kosovo (KFOR) said to itself:Willing to intervene if stability is threatenedin northern Kosovo.

The Kosovo government decided to postpone the entry into force of new rules on the border with Serbia, which caused tensions in the north of the country on Sunday, as barricades were erected and the line was fired upon. The postponement was announced in a government statement following a meeting with US Ambassador to Kosovo Jeffrey Honfer.

The new rules, which were due to come into effect on Monday, state that anyone entering Kosovo with a Serbian ID has a temporary document while in the country. Pristina also gave Kosovo Serbs two months to replace the Serbian license plates on their vehicles with those of the Republic of Kosovo.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Sunday it was a measure of reciprocity, insofar as Serbia – which does not recognize the independence of its former Albanian-majority province declared in 2008 – reciprocates the entry of Kosovo into its territory. These measures raised high tensions Sunday in northern Kosovo, where a Serb minority lives. Kosovo police said they came under fire, but there were no casualties, and roadblocks were set up on the roads leading to Serbia. The two crossings are closed to traffic. In its statement, the Kosovo government demandedAll barriers are lifted and full freedom of movement is restored” Monday.

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The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, praised Pristina’s decision in a tweet on Sunday evening, calling “Immediate removal of all roadblocks“. And an AFP correspondent noted that hundreds of Kosovo Serbs gathered Sunday evening in trucks, tankers and other heavy vehicles on the roads leading to the Yarinci and Prnjak crossings.

The NATO Mission in Kosovo (KFOR) said in a press release published on Sunday that it “Willing to intervene if stability is threatenedin northern Kosovo. “Our mission focuses entirely on the day-to-day implementation of the UN mandate to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all Kosovar residents.“, we have added in this document, being”The general tense security situationin the northern municipalities of the country.

Similar tensions in 2021

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in an address to the nation on Sunday that the situation in Kosovo “has not happenedIt wasn’t that complicatedFor Serbia and Serbs who live there. “It was boilingMr Vucic said, adding that “Serbia will winIf the Serbs were attacked. For his part, Albin Kurti accused Mr. Vucic of provokingProblems“.”The next few hours, days and weeks can be difficult and problematic‘,” the President of Kosovo wrote on Facebook.

last september, Northern Kosovo has been the scene of intense tensions, after Pristina’s decision to ban Serbian license plates on its territory, which was punctuated by daily demonstrations and traffic obstruction at the two border posts. Tensions between the two countries are now at their highest level in years, and a NATO mission of 3,770 soldiers on the ground is maintaining the fragile peace in Kosovo. Italian blue helmets were also seen on Sunday in Mitrovica and surrounding areas. The two countries engaged in an EU-sponsored dialogue in 2013 to try to resolve the outstanding issues, but little progress was made.

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see also – Kosovo announces a formal application to join the European Union by the end of 2022

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