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    Tensions at the Kosovo-Serbia border. NATO peacekeepers prepared to intervene

    The NATO peacekeeping Kosovo Force (KFOR) reported that the situation in the north of Kosovo, where protests by Serbs living there took place on Sunday night into Monday, is tense. “We are prepared to intervene if stability is threatened,” it was conveyed.

    “KFOR is closely monitoring the situation in the north of Kosovo with local and international security organizations. Under its UN mandate, KFOR remains strongly committed to security, ready to adopt necessary measures to keep Kosovo safe,” it was stressed.



    The task of the NATO-led KFOR force is to ensure the security of all the people of Kosovo and guarantee their freedom of movement, the letter notes. It added that KFOR forces are present on the ground and the mission command is in contact with all stakeholders, including the Kosovo and Serbian authorities. 


    Protests by Serbs living there against the order to change Serbian car number plates to Kosovo ones took place in northern Kosovo on Sunday night into Monday. Access roads to the two border crossings with Serbia – Jarinje and Bernjak – were blocked with trucks and other heavy equipment. According to Kosovo police, demonstrators also erected barricades and fired at pro-government forces.


    “Fortunately, no one was hurt,” stated the police in a communique. However, it was reported that both crossings were closed. 


    Following Serbian protests and consultations with the EU and US ambassadors, the authorities in Pristina announced on Sunday night that they had postponed by one month the entry into force of a law giving ethnic Serbs living in the north of the country 60 days to replace their plates. The provision was originally supposed to enter into force on August 1. 


    At the same time, the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti condemned the roadblocks in the north of the country and the “firing of police by armed individuals.” He held the Serbian authorities responsible for the “aggressive actions.”


    Already last September, Serbs from northern Kosovo blocked roads near border crossings with Serbia after Kosovo’s authorities banned vehicles with Serbian registrations from entering their territory.


    Serbia, which lost control of Kosovo after the 1999 NATO campaign, refuses to recognize the independence of its former province and since 2008, its declaration of independence, has refused to allow the use of plates with Kosovo registration on its territory.


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