Kosovo government moves to postpone reciprocal measures as tensions flare

NEWS 01.08.2022 13:21

The Kosovo government announced it will postpone for 30 days the implementation of measures adopted in June this year, under which Serbian citizens entering Kosovo would be issued temporary ID documents, and owners of vehicles with license plates issued by the Serbian authorities for cities and towns in Kosovo would replace their license plates with Kosovo (RKS) plates.

The decision, passed after Kosovo government’s consultations with US Ambassador to Pristina, Jeffrey Hovenier, comes after a weekend of heightened tension in Kosovo.

Air raid sirens were repeatedly sounded in the town of Kosovska Mitrovica on Sunday. Kosovo Serbs set up barricades at several locations in northern Kosovo, following which the Kosovo police said that they closed the Jarinje and Brnjak border crossings because of the road blockades. According to the Kosovo police, there was shooting in several places in northern Kosovo, and some of the bullets were aimed at the police, but no one was injured.

KFOR issued a press release saying the overall situation in the northern municipalities of Kosovo was tense and that it was prepared to intervene if stability was jeopardized in the north of Kosovo.

The Kosovo government condemned “the obstruction of roads in the north of Kosovo and the firing of weapons by armed persons.”

“This has everything to do with a desire to destabilize Kosovo and to threaten the peace and security of our citizens and our country. Multiple aggressive acts were perpetrated this afternoon and evening, instigated and planned by Belgrade authorities,” a government press release said.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic previously said the situation regarding Kosovo has never been more complex and difficult.

Vucic met on Sunday evening with the Serbian Army chief-of-staff, General Milan Mojsilovic.

“We are working to ease the tensions, we are doing everything we can, that is the most important for us,” Vucic said following the meeting.

“It is important for the dialogue to continue and for the current situation to be resolved peacefully,” Vucic said.

Pristina’s decision to postpone the implementation of its measures for September 1 was welcomed by European officials.

High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, welcomed the decision and said he expected all roadblocks to be removed immediately.

“Open issues should be addressed through EU-facilitated dialogue and focus on comprehensive normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, essential for their EU integration paths,” Borrell said in a Twitter post.

EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues, Miroslav Lajcak, also welcomed Kosovo’s decision to accept the proposal and postpone the measures.

“EU expects all roadblocks to be removed immediately. HRVP Borrell invited Kosovo and Serbia to engage in dialogue on way forward. Grateful to the US Ambassador to Kosovo for strong support”, Lajcak said on Twitter.


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