NATO and EU call on Kurti and Vucic to lower tensions



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The General Secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg called on the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s PM Albin Kurti, to get back to the dialogue.

Through a post on Twitter, Stoltenberg stated that he has spoken with the leaders of both countries for the necessity of things to return to normality in northern Kosovo.

The head of NATO also stated that it is vital that Belgrade and Prishtina exercise self-restraint and get back to the dialogue process.

NATO’s KFOR mandate remains to ensure a safe and secure environment, and freedom of movement for all,’’ – wrote Stolenberg.

The implementation of the reciprocity principle on the license plates of all Serbian vehicles entering Kosovo, has been causing quite a stir in the northern parts of the country this past week, as groups of Serbian citizens set fires to several Vehicle Registration Centres in Zubin Potok, while also throwing hand grenades at another Registration Centre in Zvecan.

During a press conference this Saturday, PM Kurti criticized Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic of encouraging criminal groups in northern Kosovo.

The reciprocity agreement, signed in Brussels, mandates all Serbian citizens driving into Kosovo, to replace their existing license plates with a temporary set carrying the RKS acronym, and the same thing applies to Kosovar citizens driving into Serbia.

However, Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo as an independent, sovereign state and as a result has been causing a commotion due to Kurti’s implementation of this agreement a few days ago, even though Serbia had been applying these rules – mandating all Kosovar citizens to replace their license plates upon entry to Serbia – ever since the agreement was signed back in 2016.

EU’s high representative on foreign politics, Josep Borrell has also made a public announcement calling for an ‘unconditional’ de-escalation of the situation and reducing tensions, directed at both Kosovo and Serbia.

Borrell has asked for the urgent withdrawal of special troops as well as the removal of the barricade blocking the road in northern Kosovo, while also adding that ‘any further provocation, unilateral or uncoordinated actions are unacceptable’.

The high EU representative made both Vucic and Kurti responsible for ‘’any risks to the safety and well-being of local communities on both Kosovo and Serbia. I stressed this in my calls with President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti this week,’’ – said Borrell.

Chief negotiators from both countries will be meeting in Brussels in the coming days, which according to Borrell is ‘a first positive step’.



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