Tensions with Serbia – Kosovo postpones planned accession rules


After shots were fired at the border between Serbia and Kosovo on Sunday, the Kosovo government in Pristina postponed planned border controls until September 1. The measures will be suspended for 30 days, Prime Minister Albin Kurti said. However, the condition is that all barricades are removed and full freedom of movement is restored.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and US ambassador to Kosovo Jeff Hovenier had previously spoken out in favor of a postponement. Borrell justified this, among other things, with the fact that normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia is essential for their path to the European Union.

Barricades and gunfire on Sunday
On Sunday, militant Serbs erected barricades in the predominantly Serb-populated north of Kosovo. Unknown persons fired shots at the Kosovar police, but no one was injured. Tensions arose because from Monday the Kosovar authorities no longer wanted to recognize Serbian identity documents at the border crossings. People from Serbia should have been given a provisional document at the border. According to Kosovo, this is a measure based on reciprocity. People from Kosovo have long had to get a preliminary document when crossing the border into Serbia. In addition, Kosovo had planned new rules for the registration plates of cars from Kosovo.

Presidents blame each other
Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic blamed each other after Sunday’s incident. The Serbian Defense Ministry responded to speculation that the border with Kosovo had not been crossed “until now”. Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, although not all states recognize this step. In addition to Serbia, this is also Russia, which accuses Kosovo of “provocations”. “Such a development of events is further evidence of the failure of the European Union’s mediation mission,” said Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The NATO-led mission focuses every day on ensuring a safe environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo, NATO’s KFOR mission said Sunday evening. The security situation in the north of the country is currently tense, but the situation is being closely monitored so that action can be taken if stability is threatened.

Source: Krone


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