Sunday, September 26, 2021
Kosovo police officers in the border area
The Serbian forces were alerted
Following protests by Serbian minorities, the Kosovo government is sending elite units across the border. Belgrade feels triggered by this action and takes countermeasures.
Serbia has stepped up its military presence as special units of the Kosovo police are stationed in the border area, which is considered “provocative”. After the “provocation” of special forces in Kosovo, Serbian President Alexander Vuிக்i ordered the deployment of some sections of the Serbian army and police on high alert, according to the Ministry of Defense in Belgrade. Both the European Union and NATO called for restraint.
Kosovo’s police special forces were previously stationed at two border crossings in the north of the country. In the region, members of the Serbian minority do not recognize the power of the Albanian-led government in the capital, Pristina.
Protests after license plates were banned
Police units have been set up by order of the Kosovo government, whereby drivers with Serbian license plates are obliged to keep temporary license plates when entering Kosovo. Hundreds of ethnic Serbs have protested the demand every day since the order was issued last Monday and used vehicles to block traffic across the border.
In Belgrade’s view, license plates from Kosovo signify its status as an independent country. Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008. However, the government in Belgrade has not yet recognized independence and treats Kosovo as a separate province. Russia, Serbia’s ally, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, unlike most Western countries, including the United States.
NATO demands neutrality
Kosovo President Vosa Osmani has called on the United Nations in New York to consider his country’s progress. Albania has expressed concern over the recent “worsening of the situation” and called on Serbia to withdraw its troops from the border.
EU Foreign Representative Joseph Borel called on both sides to calm the situation. Special police forces should be withdrawn immediately. “And any provocation or unilateral and uncoordinated action is unacceptable,” he said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also demanded neutrality. “It is important that Belgrade and Pristina maintain control and resume dialogue,” he said on Twitter after a phone call with Serbian President and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
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