EU Envoy Says Serbia, Kosovo Reach Agreement To End Border Deadlock
By RFE/RL's Balkan Service September 30, 2021
Serbia and Kosovo have reached an agreement to end their standoff at the border, European Union envoy Miroslav Lajcak said after talks in Brussels between the two sides.
"We have a deal! After two days of intense negotiations, an agreement on de-escalation and the way forward has just been reached," Lajcak wrote on Twitter on September 30, including a picture of the agreement.
Two border crossings between Serbia and Kosovo have been blocked by local Serbs since Kosovar authorities on September 20 required all drivers from Serbia entering Kosovo to use temporary printed license plates that are valid for 60 days.
The Kosovar government said the move was in retaliation for measures in force in Serbia against drivers from Kosovo since 2008, when the country declared independence from Belgrade.
Serbia does not recognize its former province's independence and therefore its right to take official actions such as registering cars.
Kosovo's government has deployed special police forces to the Jarinje and Brnjak border crossings to impose the new rule, while Serbian military jets and helicopters have been flying close to the border in an apparent show of force.
According to the agreement posted by Lajcak on Twitter, three main points have been agreed by the two sides:
-- Special police units located at the joint border crossings in Jarinje and Brnjak will remove barricades and leave on October 2, while members of the NATO-led KFOR stabilization force will deploy at the two crossings before the start of the withdrawal of the police and the removal of barricades, remaining there for two weeks to ensure security;
-- From October 4, a sticker will replace the removal of the license plates of cars registered in Kosovo and Serbia as a temporary measure until a permanent solution is identified;
-- On October 21, Kosovar and Serbian officials will form a working group chaired by the EU and start working toward a permanent solution that will be presented within six months to the high-level format of the Serbia-Kosovo Dialogue.
"I thank [Kosovo envoy] Besnik Bislimi and [Serbian representative] Petar Petkovic for their readiness to negotiate and agree for the good of the people," Lajcak wrote on Twitter.
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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