JARINZE, KOSOVO – Serbs removed trucks and vehicles used in the Kosovo border blockade on Saturday as NATO troops left under a European Union-mediated agreement to end a dispute between neighboring countries over vehicle license plates.
About two weeks after blocking the road from Serbia to Serbia, Kosovo’s special police are expected to withdraw from border crossings in the north of the country, when Kosovo introduced temporary license plates for all vehicles from Serbia.
The Kosovo government said the move was in retaliation for actions taken by Kosovo against Serbian drivers in 2008, when Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.
Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and so the right to take action such as car registration and this month’s clashes turned violent.
However, the two countries, mediated by EU special envoy Miroslav Lazak, reached an agreement on Thursday to use stickers on license plates to cover state symbols and allow NATO, which has about 3,000 troops in Kosovo, to control the region.
Local Serbs spoke to Slovenian troops on Saturday, who are part of NATO forces, who removed the barricades when Kosovo police vehicles were parked at the border crossing.
Their withdrawal deadline is 4 p.m. (1400 GMT).
Serbia, which lost control of Kosovo after the NATO bombing in 1 NATO, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and therefore has the right to take steps such as car registration.
But as Serbia moves towards EU membership, it will have to resolve all outstanding issues with Kosovo. The two sides agreed to a 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 UN membership is blocked by Russia, Serbia’s traditional ally.
By Fatos Bytyci
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times