August 15, 2022

Raven Tribune

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Blockades and Gunfire: Tensions in Northern Kosovo

Status: 01.08.2022 01:46 am

Militant Serbs block two border crossings into Serbia. The reason may be dissatisfaction with the proposed new regulation of entry. KFOR troops are monitoring the situation.

Following tensions on the Serbia-Kosovo border, Pristina has promised to postpone a controversial move on planned border controls for the time being. Prime Minister Albin Kurdi said on Twitter on Monday night that his government is pledging to suspend operations for 30 days, with the cooperation of international allies. The prerequisite is that all obstructions must be removed and complete freedom of movement restored.

The government condemned the “blockade of roads in northern Kosovo” and condemned the shooting by armed men, it said in a statement. Pristina accused Belgrade of “aggressive actions” throughout the afternoon and evening. Militant Serbs set up barricades Sunday in Kosovo’s predominantly Serb north. Police in Pristina said late Sunday evening that unknown persons opened fire in the direction of Kosovan police officers, but no one was injured.

Dispute regarding personal documents

Since this Monday (00:00 hours), tensions have arisen due to the unwillingness of Kosovar authorities to recognize Serbian identity documents at border crossings. Serbs with such documents must keep a temporary document issued at the border. According to the Kosovan interpretation, this is an action based on reciprocity. For a long time, Kosovar citizens had to be issued a temporary document when crossing the border into Serbia, as Serbian authorities did not recognize Kosovar documents. Also, the new rules will apply to the number plates of car owners.

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Kurdistan and the political leadership are maintaining contact with US and European representatives and have promised to postpone the planned start of operations on border crossings to September 1, a government statement said.

KFOR is monitoring the situation

The security situation in northern Kosovo remains tense, NATO mission KFOR reported on Saturday evening. He is monitoring the situation closely and, in line with his mandate, is “ready to intervene if stability is threatened.” The NATO-led mission focuses every day on ensuring a safe environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo.

On Sunday, Serbs blocked access roads to two border crossings into Serbia with barricades. Kosovo, now almost entirely inhabited by Albanians, belongs to Serbia. It declared itself independent in 2008. Serbia does not recognize the state of Kosovo and claims its territory for itself. Bundeswehr has been stationed in Kosovo since 1999 as part of an international mission.