Sunday night has left new tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, with blockades of border crossings and roads, a few hours before the beginning of the application by Kosovo of the ban on Serbian documents and license plates, a measure opposed by this country. After the escalation of tension, the Government of Kosovo has postponed the application of the norm until September, according to Reuters. The Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, conditions the postponement to the removal of the barricades placed in protest at the measure.
The Kosovo Police have closed the border crossings of Brnjak and Jarinje for traffic “due to the blocking of roads to their accesses”, according to the police statement picked up by the Kosovar radio station RTK, which indicates that the police have deployed their patrols in the north Kosovo, where the Serb minority is concentrated. Serbs opposed to the new Pristina measures have barricaded roads leading from the northern city of Mitrovica, where there is a Serb majority, to the Jarinje and Brnjak border crossings.
Kosovo announced at the end of last June its intention to ban from August 1 the use of identity documents and license plates from Serbia in its territory, in a decision similar to the one that last September generated a crisis that implied that the two countries increased their security forces at the border.
Under the new measures, those who enter Kosovo with identity cards issued by Serbia will receive a temporary Kosovar document valid for 90 days for their stay in the country. In addition, car license plates issued by Serbia for Kosovar cities with a Serb majority will have to be replaced by official Kosovo ones from August 1 and in all almost before September 30.
The ban on driving in Kosovo with Serbian license plates led to roadblocks last September by the Kosovar Serb minority. Kosovo reacted by deploying special forces, with armor and automatic weapons, and Serbia raised the alert level of its troops near the border. The Government of Serbia assures that the objective of Pristina is to expel the Serbs from the north of the country and destabilize the situation.
The Serbian leader accuses the Kosovar of imposing measures “to which he has no right”
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic accused Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Sunday of trying to “impose on the Serbs in northern Kosovo measures to which he has no right.” He assured that these measures are contrary to the agreements between the two parties reached in the dialogue protected by the European Union (EU) and asked the West to help “to preserve peace and security.”
Since 2011, Kosovo and Serbia have been carrying out difficult and unsuccessful negotiations to normalize their relations. The former Serbian province of Kosovo proclaimed independence in 2008, which Serbia does not recognize, and which has been supported by the United States and most EU partners, but not by Russia, China, India, Brazil or Spain, among others. State.
NATO’s International Security Force for Kosovo (KFOR) said on Sunday night that it is ready to intervene if stability in northern Kosovo is threatened. KFOR has stressed that it is in contact with all its main interlocutors, including representatives of Kosovo security organizations and the Serbian Chief of Defense, and will continue to offer its support for the normalization of the process between Pristina and Belgrade.
“There will be no real prospects for a better future in the Balkans without full respect for human rights and democratic values, rule of law, internal reforms, and good neighborly relations. Constructive dialogue is the key to regional stability”, she states.
This Sunday night strong tensions have arisen between Kosovo and Serbia with blockades of border crossings and roads, a few hours after the beginning of the application by Pristina of the ban on Serbian documents and license plates in Kosovo, a measure that they oppose the Serbs.