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Kosovo, Serbia agree deal to finish border tensions | Information

Breakthrough negotiated in Brussels ends flare-up in hostilities triggered by dispute over automobile licence plates.

Serbia and Kosovo have reached an settlement to finish a standoff at their shared border which was rooted in a dispute over automobile licence plates, a European Union mediator has introduced.

“We now have a deal,” Miroslav Lajcek tweeted on Thursday. “After two days of intense negotiations, an settlement on de-escalation and the best way ahead has simply been reached.”

The breakthrough got here after Kosovo’s authorities final week deployed particular police forces to the shared border to impose a brand new rule of eradicating Serb licence plates from automobiles coming into the nation, saying {that a} 10-year deal had expired.

Pristina stated they had been replicating what Serbia had completed for the previous decade following Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence.

Protesting the brand new Kosovo rule, native Serbs blocked the border with vans.

Serbia in the meantime deployed armoured automobiles, army jets and helicopters near the frontier in an obvious present of power.

Von der Leyen welcomes deal

Beneath the accord negotiated in Brussels, NATO troops will change the Kosovar police items on the border, which can withdraw from Saturday. That transfer will coincide with the lifting of the Serb blockades.

Each international locations will place particular stickers on automotive licence plates to take away nationwide symbols and permit the free motion of residents. This can be a non permanent measure, which can stay in place till a everlasting answer is discovered, the accord says.

 

European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen, who was touring the Balkan area, welcomed the deal.

“It’s good for the entire area,” she stated. “The dialogue now must proceed.”

NATO has had some 5,000 troops in Kosovo underneath a United Nations mandate because the finish of the Serbian-Kosovar battle in June 1999.

Ongoing recognition dispute

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic performed down hopes of any broader breakthrough within the wider recognition dispute between Serbia and Kosovo for now.

Serbia, supported by its allies Russia and China, doesn’t recognise the statehood of its former province however most Western international locations do, together with the USA.

EU-mediated talks aimed toward resolving the impasse, one in every of Europe’s most intractable territorial disagreements, have to date failed to realize normalised ties between Pristina and Belgrade.

“I believe the settlement is truthful for the residents,” Vucic advised reporters in Serbia, the place he was internet hosting von der Leyen.

“I would love us to have the ability to discover extra lasting options. That might not embody recognition of Kosovo,” he added.

Kosovo’s declaration of independence got here a decade after a battle between ethnic Albanian fighters and Serbian forces that killed 13,000 individuals, principally ethnic Albanians.

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