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Kosovo deploys police, Serbs protest amid border tension

Tensions soared on Monday at the border between Kosovo and Serbia, as Kosovo deployed additional police to implement a rule to remove Serbian licence plates from cars entering Kosovo.

Kosovo special police with armoured vehicles were sent to the border as hundreds of Kosovo Serbs reportedly drove there in their cars to protest the move, blocking one of the crossing points in protest.

Serbia’s police have for years been taking off registration plates from Kosovo-registered cars entering Serbia, and the latest move by Kosovo authorities appears to be a tit-for-tat move.

Serbia does not recognise its former province of Kosovo as a separate state and considers the mutual border only as an “administrative” and temporary boundary.

Kosovo officials said that as of Monday, the licence plates issued in Serbia will be replaced with temporary ones and that the additional police were deployed to implement the “reciprocity” action.

The two sides have agreed in European Union-mediated talks in 2014 to allow free traffic. However, Kosovo officials said the deal has expired and only proper Kosovo symbols are now valid in the territory.

In Belgrade, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called an emergency meeting for Tuesday of the state national security council as local Serb officials from Kosovo urged help from Belgrade.

Top Kosovo Serb official Goran Rakic described the latest move as “a direct threat” against Serbs living in Kosovo, saying they have informed EU mediator Miroslav Lajcak and other international officials about the new developments.

“This (protest) is a reaction by the people who are worried about their future, their children and their families,” said Mr. Rakic. “People are anxious and frightened.”


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 3:02:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/kosovo-deploys-police-serbs-protest-amid-border-tension/article36565773.ece

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