The authorities in Kosovo said that all the obstacles that were placed the day before by groups of Serbian protesters in the north of the country have been removed and thus the border crossings with Serbia in Jarinje and Bërnjak have been opened.
Groups of Serbian citizens supported by Belgrade protested on Sunday against the Kosovo government’s decisions on reciprocity measures with Serbia, regarding identification documents and the use of license plates issued by the Serbian authorities.
The Government of Kosovo decided shortly before midnight on Sunday to postpone the implementation of the decisions for a month, after consulting with the American Ambassador Jeff Hovenier who requested a 30-day postponement. This request was also made by European Union officials.
The Minister of the Interior of Kosovo, Xhelal Svecla, said on Monday evening that “with the removal of the barricades and the provision of freedom of movement, the Government of Kosovo moves the implementation of the decisions to September 1, 2022”.
According to the decisions that the government pushed, all citizens of Serbia who will enter Kosovo will be provided with a temporary document that will replace personal identification documents. According to the government’s decision of June 29, all citizens of Kosovo who have cars with license plates issued by Serbia must register them with Kosovo RKS license plates.
The decisions prompted an angry reaction from Belgrade, which accuses Pristina of trying to expel Kosovo Serbs.
The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, called on “the Western capitals, the European Union and NATO to condemn the violence and aggression of criminal gangs in the north of Kosovo, which are clearly instigated, prepared and financed by Belgrade”.
The police said that at least 11 Albanian citizens were attacked by groups of Serbian protesters and there were shots fired at the police, but no one was injured.
NATO-led peacekeeping forces said today that they are closely monitoring the situation in northern Kosovo with local and international security organizations. KFOR said that it “remains strongly committed to security, ready to implement the necessary measures to keep Kosovo safe”.
The European Union said that the open issues between Kosovo and Serbia should be addressed through talks facilitated by it and focusing on the comprehensive normalization of relations between them that are essential for the path to European integration.
“The European Union has invited both sides to meet in Brussels to discuss ways and to find solutions to prevent such tensions again,” said European Union spokesman Peter Stano, underlining that any uncoordinated and unilateral action that threatens stability and jeopardizes freedom of movement, must be stopped.
The spokesperson of the United Nations, Stephane Dujarric, said on Monday that the organization is closely following the developments in Kosovo and “welcomes the postponement of the implementation of the decisions that have led to the rise of tensions on the ground”, while reiterating the calls for “the parties to address issues in good faith through EU-facilitated dialogue to strengthen sustainability and security for all”.
The north of Kosovo continues to remain one of the least controlled areas of the country. Kosovo declared its independence in February 2008 with the support of the United States and the main countries of the European Union. However, it is opposed by Serbia, supported by Moscow, which on Sunday accused the Kosovo authorities of “discriminatory actions”. /VOA