February 4, 2023

Balkan Travellers

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Tensions flare in northern Kosovo, with NATO mission saying it is “ready to intervene” in the event of instability

Kosovo police said the fire broke out in the country’s north on Sunday as roadblocks were set up on roads leading to Serbia against the government’s border policy.

The NATO Mission in Kosovo (KFOR) said in a press release issued on Sunday, “Ready to intervene if stability is threatenedIn northern Kosovo, tension has been seen in recent hours. “Our work is fully focused on the daily implementation of the UN mandate to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all residents of Kosovo.“, we have added in this document, “General tense security situationIn municipalities in the north of the country.

Kosovo police said the fire broke out in the country’s north on Sunday as roadblocks were set up on roads leading to Serbia against the government’s border policy. No one was injured in the shooting, according to a police report. Both intersections were closed to traffic. On Sunday evening, hundreds of Kosovo Serbs gathered trucks, tankers and other heavy vehicles on the roads leading to the Jarinje and Branjak intersections, an AFP journalist noted. A crowd then settled around the barricades, intending to spend the night there. Air raid sirens blared for more than three hours in the small town of northern Mitrovica, which is mainly populated by Serbs.

Similar tensions in 2021

Starting Monday, anyone entering Kosovo with a Serbian identity card will have to replace it with a temporary document during their stay in the country, according to a decision by the Pristina government. In addition, vehicles belonging to Kosovo Serbs with registration plates issued in Serbia must change to Republic of Kosovo plates within two months.

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Prime Minister Albin Kurdi made it clear on Sunday that this was a reciprocal move as far as Serbia, which does not recognize the independence of its former province with an Albanian majority, declared in 2008. Kosovo’s Serbs do not recognize Pristina’s authority or Kosovo’s independence, and remain loyal to Belgrade, on which they are financially dependent.

In an address to the nation on Sunday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said the situation in Kosovo was “no”.It’s never been more complicatedFor Serbia and the Serbs living there. “The atmosphere was boilingMr. Vucic added, “Serbia will winIf the Serbs were attacked. For his part, Albin Kurdi accused Mr Vucic of inciting “problems“. “The next few hours, days and weeks will be difficult and complicated“, the Kosovar president wrote on Facebook.

Last September, In Kosovo’s north, tensions have been high since Pristina’s decision to ban Serbian license plates, with daily demonstrations and a ban on traffic at two border posts. Tensions between the two countries are now at their highest level in years and Kosovo’s fragile peace is being maintained by the NATO mission, which has 3,770 troops on the ground. Italian blue helmets were also seen in and around Mitrovica on Sunday. The two countries attempted to resolve the outstanding issues in 2013 with EU-backed talks, but little progress has been made.