By DUSAN STOJANOVIC, Related Press
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Tensions soared Monday on the border between Kosovo and Serbia as Kosovo deployed further police to implement a rule to take away Serbian license plates from automobiles coming into Kosovo, whereas Serbs protested the transfer.
Kosovo particular police with armored autos have been despatched to the border as tons of of Kosovo Serbs reportedly drove to the border of their automobiles and vans, blocking a street resulting in one of many crossing factors in protest.
Serbia’s police have for years been taking off registration plates from Kosovo-registered automobiles coming into Serbia, and the newest transfer by Kosovo authorities seems to be a tit-for-tat transfer.
Serbia would not acknowledge its former province of Kosovo as a separate state and considers the mutual border solely as an “administrative” and momentary boundary.
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Kosovo officers stated that as of Monday, the license plates issued in Serbia will probably be changed with momentary ones and that the extra police have been deployed to implement the “reciprocity” motion.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti stated that Serbia was the primary to impose momentary license plates. He added that Kosovo’s transfer would not restrict freedom of motion and is not directed towards Serbs.
“We didn’t ask for the momentary license plates, however they have been imposed by the opposite occasion,” he stated. “So long as our residents should pay for the plates after they enter Serbia, they are going to be used on entry into Kosovo as properly.”
The 2 sides have agreed in European Union-mediated talks in 2014 to permit free visitors. Nonetheless, Kosovo officers stated the deal has expired and solely correct Kosovo symbols at the moment are legitimate within the territory.
In Belgrade, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic referred to as an emergency assembly for Tuesday of the state nationwide safety council as native Serb officers from Kosovo urged assist from Belgrade.
High Kosovo Serb official Goran Rakic described the newest transfer as “a direct menace” towards Serbs dwelling in Kosovo, saying they’ve knowledgeable EU mediator Miroslav Lajcak and different worldwide officers in regards to the new developments.
“This (protest) is a response by the people who find themselves anxious about their future, their youngsters and their households,” stated Rakic. “Persons are anxious and frightened.”
Hundreds of individuals have been killed and over 1,000,000 have been left homeless after a 1998-1999 bloody crackdown by Serbian troops towards Kosovo Albanian separatists. The battle ended solely after a NATO intervention.
Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania, and Jovana Gec in Belgrade, contributed to this report.
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