Kosovo began applying new rules on vehicles with Serbian license plates entering the country. While the scheme to have drivers swap out for local registration is about reciprocity, tensions have soared.
Ethnic Serbs in the north of Kosovo blocked roads leading to the two border crossings with Serbia on Monday. It came after Kosovo authorities announced drivers with Serbian plates would need to cover them or remove them and swap them out for local registration upon entry to Kosovo.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that Belgrade would call KFOR and NATO to react to what he termed “danger to the lives and property” of Serbs in Kosovo.
“We will call KFOR and NATO to protect the lives of the Serbs in Kosovo,” he told a news conference, adding that Serbia would not allow a repeat of the “pogrom of 2004” (when Kosovo Albanians rioted, burning down Orthodox Christian churches and attacking Serbs).
Vucic said that he would meet with Quint country officials at their request before he convenes a meeting of the Council for National Security on Tuesday. He said that the Council would discuss possible measures that Serbia could take. “I hope we will not be forced to impose our own measures, political and economic,” he said.
He also called the Kosovo Serbs not to allow themselves to be provoked and protest peacefully.
The Serbian President said that he is sick and tired of appeals to both sides, claiming that Pristina was taking unilateral steps.
Asked why the license plates issue has not been resolved in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Vucic said the issue was raised “countless times” including by himself and in meetings at technical level. According to him, Pristina couldn’t wait to say “we don’t have to ask anyone and we won’t discuss this with the Serbs”.
(Voice of America, N1, 20.09.2021)
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