After riots in northern Kosovo, the situation is apparently easing for the time being. Local media and the AFP news agency reported that roadblocks had been cleared. On Sunday, Serbian residents of northern Kosovo parked some trucks across the street, blocking access to border crossings. It was unclear whether all roadblocks were lifted.
The EU has meanwhile invited representatives of Kosovo and Serbia to Brussels to discuss how to proceed and to prevent future tensions. A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the disputes could only be settled through dialogue and negotiations.
New entry rules only from September
The government of Kosovo had previously given in and announced that it would not apply the new entry regulations for the time being. In cooperation with international allies, his government promises to suspend implementation for 30 days, Prime Minister Albin Kurti tweeted early Monday morning. The prerequisite is that all barricades on access roads to the border with Serbia are removed. In doing so, Pristina complied with requests from Brussels and Washington.
The government condemns the blockade of roads in northern Kosovo and the firing of shots by armed persons, a statement from Pristina said. At the same time, the Serbian leadership was held responsible for “aggressive actions” on Sunday.
The Kosovan authorities actually no longer wanted to recognize Serbian identity documents upon entry from this Monday. Serbs with such papers would have had to have a provisional document issued at the border for a stay in Kosovo. It is a matter of reciprocity, since Serbia demands the same from Kosovars upon entry, explained Kurti on Sunday. In addition, new rules for license plates should apply.
The situation in Kosovo has “never been so complex” for the Serbs living there and for Serbia, said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. The atmosphere is “at the boiling point”.
Background to the dispute: Kosovo, which is now largely inhabited by Albanians, declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. However, the government in Belgrade continues to regard Kosovo as a breakaway province.
wa/fw/ehl (dpa, afp)
This article was subsequently supplemented with the new development of the dissolved roadblocks.