Tuesday, November 22, 2022
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Kosovo pauses Serbian automobile plate scheme after Brussels talks fail | European Union Information


The delay helps calm tensions in northern Kosovo, a day after EU-mediated talks between Belgrade and Pristina failed.

Kosovo’s prime minister, accused by Brussels of scuppering talks to resolve a row over a scheme to exchange Serbian automobile quantity plates, has delayed the plan for 2 days.

The dispute erupted after Kosovo mentioned the nation’s ethnic Serbs can be penalised if they didn’t swap automobile licence plates issued by Serbia for registration numbers issued by Pristina.

The underlying supply of stress is Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia. The latter doesn’t recognise the transfer and has inspired Kosovo’s Serb minority to stay loyal to Belgrade.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti mentioned on Twitter on Tuesday morning that he had accepted a request from Washington “for a 48-hour postponement of the introduction of fines” for automobiles with Serbian plates.

Talks in Brussels

The delay helped calm tensions in northern Kosovo, a day after European Union-mediated negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina over the possibly explosive scheme failed to supply outcomes.

“I’m blissful to work with the US and the EU to discover a resolution in the course of the subsequent two days,” Kurti tweeted.

The dispute has sounded alarm bells within the EU, which has been looking for to normalise ties between Serbia and Kosovo and needs each to chorus from provocative gestures.

America ambassador to Kosovo, Jeffrey Hovenier, additionally voiced concern over the failure to resolve the quantity plate row, which has the potential to set off a regional disaster.

Within the newest growth this month, Serbs in northern Kosovo resigned from public establishments in protest over the scheme.

Of Kosovo’s 120,000-strong minority, about 10,000 have Serbia-issued automobile registrations.

Washington had requested the two-day delay “to permit the EU and the US to additional interact the events to discover a resolution”, Hovenier tweeted.

‘Verge of battle’

Police had been as a consequence of begin issuing 150-euro ($155) fines to automobiles with Serbian plates from 8am (07:00 GMT) on Tuesday. A complete ban is to return into power in April 2023.

The EU’s high diplomat, Josep Borrell, on Monday hosted negotiations in Brussels between Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

Afterwards, Borrell mentioned Vucic had been prepared to just accept an EU compromise proposal “that would have averted this dangerous scenario” however Kurti had not.

Returning to Belgrade, Vucic mentioned the scenario was on the “verge of battle”.

“There is a gigantic anger among the many Serbs in northern Kosovo,” he mentioned in a public handle. He added he would ask the latter to “attempt to protect peace”.

Borrell urged Pristina to not implement its licence plate legislation and Belgrade to not difficulty new plates bearing Kosovar metropolis initials. He mentioned a cooling-off interval would enable time and area for diplomacy to renew.

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