Borrell warns of escalation
Vucic calls on Serbian troops in Kosovo
12/11/2022 at 8:03 pm
Serbia and Kosovo both want to join the EU, but have not resolved their conflict with each other. This is again evident in northern Kosovo, where road blockades and gunfire are exchanged. EU foreign policy representatives are appealing to both sides.
In the north of the western Balkan country of Kosovo, tensions are rising again between the authorities and the Serb minority: After a night of gunfights with police, Serb protesters blocked main roads in northern Kosovo for a second day this Sunday. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Saturday evening that he intends to ask NATO security force KFOR to deploy Serbian police and armed forces to Kosovo. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned both sides of escalating tensions.
Serbia has not yet recognized the independence of the former province. Tension has existed for years in northern Kosovo, in which the Serbs are a minority. Recently, the European Union successfully resolved the dispute over license plates. Serbian nationalists do not want to accept Kosovar license plates. Fresh protests were sparked by the arrest of a former Serbian police officer on Saturday.
“must be calm”
The EU mission Ulex, which is tasked with monitoring northern Kosovo, said a stun grenade was thrown at one of its armored vehicles on Saturday evening. “The EU will not tolerate any attack on Ulex or violent, criminal acts in response,” Borrell warned on Twitter. “Barricades by groups of Kosovo Serbs must be removed immediately. There must be calm.”
The postponement of local elections scheduled for April 23 in northern Kosovo is causing additional tension. President Vajosa Osmani announced on Saturday that the move was necessary to ensure high turnout and invited observers to vote. Many Serbs have already announced that they will boycott the elections. The European Union has repeatedly warned the governments of both countries that EU accession is not possible without resolution of the conflict. Serbia is already an accession candidate. Kosovo plans to apply for EU membership before the end of 2022.
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