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Kosovo’s PM: Mutual plate recognition with Serbia is essential

Kosovo

Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti gives a joint news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell (not pictured) at the EEAS building in Brussels, Belgium April 29, 2021. Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via REUTERS

Kosovo and Serbia should start recognizing each other’s car plates to ease movement, Kosovan PM, Albin Kurti, said on Wednesday.

The move should allow for people and goods’ free travel, and facilitate border tension.

On Monday, the Serbs in northern Kosovo have added roadblocks near border gates with Serbia.

This happened after Kosovan authorities banned cars with Serbian license plates from entering the territory.

Kosovan police are obliging Serbian drivers to remove their plates and use 60-day temporary printed ones.

Serbia rejects the independence of Kosovo and has banned Kosovan license plates since 2008.

The country has lost control over the former province after the NATO bombing in 1999.

Kurti said that both Pristina and Belgrade should recognize each other’s car plates.

“Let’s both Kosovo and Serbia remove temporary plates and allow citizens to move freely,” Kurti stated in a governmental session.

However, Belgrade did not have an immediate response to Kurti’s proposition.

The two countries committed to dialogue to resolve their issues, which the EU sponsored in 2013.

However, there was no progress in the talks between the two states.

The US and the EU have called on Pristina and Belgrade to compromise and relieve tensions.

Nearly 50,000 Serbs living in the north of Kosovo, bordering Serbia, deny Pristina’s authority.

Over 13,000 people are believed to have died during the 1998-1999 war in the former Serbian province.

Kosovo was still part of Serbia back then, under the rule of President Slobodan Milosevic.

The war ended after NATO’s bombing campaign on Milosevic’s forces, making Kosovo an independent state.

The United States, Britain and other western countries recognize Kosovo’s independence.

However, Russia, which is an ally of Serbia, and five other EU states do not recognize it.

The north region of Kosovo has seen several ethnic conflicts since the war ended.

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