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World EU urges Kosovo, Serbia talk on disputes, lower tensions

15:55  29 september  2021
15:55  29 september  2021 Source:   msn.com

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PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The head of the European Union's executive branch on Wednesday called on Kosovo and Serbia to resolve their disputes through the dialogue and deescalate the recent tension over license plates.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a news conference with the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Tirana, Albania, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. Von der Leyen visits six Western Balkan countries which share a common European future. ahead of their Oct. 6 summit. (AP Photo/Franc Zhurda) © Provided by Associated Press President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a news conference with the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Tirana, Albania, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. Von der Leyen visits six Western Balkan countries which share a common European future. ahead of their Oct. 6 summit. (AP Photo/Franc Zhurda)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was in Kosovo's capital, Pristina, to meet with senior leaders as part of her regional tour before an EU-Western Balkans summit on Oct. 6.

Kosovo calls on Serbia to lower tensions, start dialogue

  Kosovo calls on Serbia to lower tensions, start dialogue PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The Kosovo-Serbia border was blocked for a third straight day on Wednesday by ethnic Serbs protesting a decision by Kosovo authorities to start removing Serbian license plates from cars entering the country. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti called on Serbs to move vehicles away “because they are blocking themselves.” Small groups of Serbs spent the night in tents and they have blocked the roads to the Jarinje and Brnjak border crossings with trucks. © Provided by Associated Press Local Serbs stand beside a road blocking the road leading to the northern Kosovo border crossing of Jarinje, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021.

“It is vital that Kosovo and Serbia normalize their relations,” she said at a news conference with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti. “The EU-facilitated dialogue ... is the only platform to resolve the current crisis.”

Representatives of the two countries were meeting Wednesday in Brussels, facilitated by the EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak.

Last week, Kosovo's government deployed special police forces to the border crossings to impose a new rule of removing Serb license plates from cars coming into the country, saying that a 10-year-old deal had expired. Pristina said they were replicating what Serbia had done for the last 10 years.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen talks to the media at a joint news conference with North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, after their meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. Top European Union's official has expressed hope Tuesday that Albania and North Macedonia will open the accession talks with the block by the end of this year. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) © Provided by Associated Press European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen talks to the media at a joint news conference with North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, after their meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. Top European Union's official has expressed hope Tuesday that Albania and North Macedonia will open the accession talks with the block by the end of this year. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

Kosovo Serbs blocked the border with trucks and people could only pass it on foot. Serbian military jets and helicopters have been flying close to the border with Kosovo in an apparent show of force.

Serbia. Troops on the border alert with Kosovo

 Serbia. Troops on the border alert with Kosovo © Photo: Armente Nimani / AFP The special police of Kosovo faced last Monday to hundreds of Kosovo Serbs who protested against the government ban on vehicles bearing Serbian license plates in Jarinje, Kosovo. From the tension is mounted by a notch. The tension is mounted by a notch this Sunday, September 26 between Kosovo and Serbia, which identified the alert level of its army at the border.

“We understand it’s not only a question of license plates,” von der Leyen said. “We all know that it’s more it’s a question how this region will move forward and whether we are going to be able to go together, the path toward integration and towards our European values here.”

Kurti has repeated the offer that both countries drop the temporary license plate rule as a solution.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has demanded that Kosovo first withdraws all special police at the border before launching the EU-mediated negotiations.

The EU, NATO and the U.S. have urged Kosovo and Serbia to exercise restraint and refrain from taking unilateral actions.

Von der Leyen is visiting the six Balkan countries to assure their future is in the EU.

The Western Balkan countries — Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia — are at different stages on the EU membership path. The bloc’s stalled interest in enlargement and years of diplomatic turmoil with Britain over Brexit are some factors delaying their progress.

“I am a staunch supporter of the process of enlargement. I want the Western Balkans by our side. That’s where you belong. We want you. We need you,” she said.

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Llazar Semini reported from Tirana, Albania.

Russians flock to Serbia for Western-made COVID-19 vaccines .
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