Kosovo’s border with Serbia was reopened on Saturday as Serbs removed trucks and cars and NATO troops moved under an EU-mediated deal to end a dispute between neighboring countries over car license plates Went.
Kosovo special police forces withdrew across the border in the country’s north nearly two weeks after Serbs blocked roads in protest against Kosovo’s decision to introduce temporary license plates for all cars from Serbia.
The Kosovo government stated that the license plate requirement was imposed in retaliation for Serbian measures taken against Kosovo drivers since 2008, when Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.
“From this weekend and for the next two weeks, KFOR will maintain a temporary, strong and tight presence in the region, in accordance with the arrangements outlined,” said a statement by a NATO-led peacekeeping force called KFOR.
Serbia, which lost control of Kosovo after the NATO bombing in 1999, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and therefore has the right to take actions such as registering cars.
This month’s confrontation turned to violence, but the two countries – mediated by EU special envoy Miroslav Lajcak – struck a deal on Thursday.
Under the deal, stickers would be used to cover state symbols on license plates, and NATO, which has about 3,000 troops in Kosovo, would be allowed to control the area.
Local Serbs held talks on Saturday with Slovenian soldiers, who are part of the NATO force, as they removed barricades while Kosovo police vehicles were crossing the border.
The deadline for his return was 4 pm (1400 GMT). As Serbia moves towards EU membership, it must resolve all outstanding issues with Kosovo. The two sides agreed to an EU-mediated dialogue in 2013, but little progress has been made.
Kosovo’s independence was supported by Western countries, including the United States and Britain, but it is still not recognized by the five EU member states and its membership of the United Nations is blocked by Serbia’s traditional ally Russia.