International forces led NATO (KFOR), responsible for ensuring security on the territory of Kosovo, expressed their readiness to intervene in the border conflict between Belgrade and Pristina in case of a threat to the stability of Kosovo. The organization announced this on Sunday, July 31, on Twitter. “KFOR is ready to intervene if the stability in the north of Kosovo is threatened,” the message says.
As noted in KFOR, the security situation in the municipalities in northern Kosovo remains tense, but the mission is constantly monitoring and is ready to intervene in the framework of UNSCR 1244 of 1999. “Our NATO-led KFOR mission is fully focused on the day-to-day implementation of its UN mandate to ensure a secure environment and freedom of movement for the entire population of Kosovo,” the statement said.
Kosovo and Serbian leaders blame each other for unrest
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is to blame for the aggravation of the situation in the region. In his opinion, blocking the highway at the border is a planned action.
Kurti pointed out that his order to re-register cars and replace license plates issued in Serbia to Serbs living in northern Kosovo with Kosovo ones was a response to Belgrade, which requires the same from Kosovo citizens entering Serbia.
On Sunday evening, hundreds of ethnic Serbs parked vans, oil tanker trucks and other heavy vehicles on the roads in the direction checkpoints on the border with Serbia “Jarine” and “Brnjak”blocking movement. A large number of local Serbs gathered around the barricades with the intention of staying there, an AFP correspondent reported.
Vučić warns Kosovars against attack
In turn, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Sunday that the situation in Kosovo has never been “more difficult” for Serbia and the ethnic Serbs living in Kosovo than it is now. “The atmosphere has reached its breaking point,” Vučić said, warning that “Serbia will win” if the Serbs are attacked.
Kurti accused Vučić of instigating “riots”. “The next hours, days and weeks can be difficult and problematic,” the politician wrote on Facebook.
Pristina is ready to postpone the imposition of measures against car owners
Meanwhile, on the night of August 1, Albin Kurti promised to postpone the introduction of measures against car owners with Serbian numbers and documents issued in Serbia for a month, provided that barricades at checkpoints on the administrative border are removed on Monday. According to him, this decision was made “in cooperation with our international allies.”
Borrell welcomes the decision of the Kosovo administration
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell welcomed the Kosovo administration’s decision to delay until September 1 the implementation of its mandatory re-registration plan for Serbian-registered vehicles for new Pristina-issued license plates.
“We expect all roadblocks to be removed immediately,” Borrell wrote on his Twitter, adding that open issues should be resolved through EU-facilitated dialogue and with a view to a comprehensive normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
Prior to this, the aggravation of the situation was observed in September 2021
Serious for the last time exacerbation of the situation in the region was observed in September 2021 when hundreds of ethnic Serbs staged daily protests and blocked traffic at two border crossings. Their anger was fueled by Pristina’s decision to require drivers with Serbian license plates to put up temporary plates when entering Kosovo. Those who entered from Kosovo to Serbiashould have done the same.