Barricades and shelling: tension in northern Kosovo

Barricades and shelling: tension in northern Kosovo

Status: 01.08.2022 01:46 AM

Militant Serbs blocked access routes for two border crossings to Serbia. The reason was probably unhappy with a planned new regulation for admissions. KFOR personnel are monitoring the situation.

Following tensions on the Serbia-Kosovo border, Pristina has resolved to postpone a controversial measure on planned border controls for the time being. In cooperation with international allies, his government has promised to suspend implementation of the measures for 30 days, Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Twitter on Monday night. The condition is that all barricades are removed and complete freedom of movement is restored.

The government in a statement condemned the “blockade of roads in northern Kosovo” and firing by armed individuals. Pristina blamed Belgrade for “aggressive actions” during the afternoon and evening. Extremist Serbs put up barricades in a predominantly Serb-populated north of Kosovo on Sunday. Unidentified persons also opened fire in the direction of Kosovan police officers, but no one was injured, Pristina police said late Sunday.

dispute over personal documents

Tension arose because the Kosovan authorities no longer wanted to recognize Serbian identity documents at the border crossing from this Monday (00:00). Serbs with such papers must have a temporary document issued at the border. According to the Kosovan interpretation, it is a measure based on reciprocity. For a long time, citizens of Kosovar have had to issue a temporary document when crossing the border into Serbia because the Serbian authorities do not recognize Kosovar papers. Also, new rules should be applicable on the number plates of car owners.

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Kurti and the political leadership have maintained contact with US and European representatives and have promised to postpone the start of the planned measures in border traffic until September 1, the government statement said.

KFOR is monitoring the situation

NATO mission KFor announced on Saturday evening that the security situation in northern Kosovo is tense. She is monitoring the situation closely and according to her mandate, is “ready to intervene if stability is threatened.” The NATO-led mission focuses every day on guaranteeing a safe environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo.

Militant Serbs on Sunday blocked access routes to two Serbian border crossings with barricades. Kosovo, now inhabited almost exclusively by Albanians, used to belong to Serbia. In 2008 it declared itself independent. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s statehood and claims its territory for itself. The Bundeswehr has also been stationed in Kosovo since 1999 as part of an international mission.

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