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What is the license plate war, a conflict that keeps Serbia and Kosovo in dispute?

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An agreement in the last hours would seem to reduce the tensions between Serbia and Kosovo that had grown in previous days.

Kosovo declared independence in February 2008 and this is something that Serbia does not recognize. This has resulted in a situation with vehicles increasing tension, this is known as the crisis or war of license plates.

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“The agreement has to serve to be able to focus on what really matters: moving forward in the normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade,” declared the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.

For weeks there was tension on the border between Serbia and Kosovo. Photo: DJORDJE SAVIC

In the coming days, it is expected that the authorities of both countries will be called to continue the dialogue. Taking the first step required both parties to travel to Brussels.

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Kosovo wants to fine vehicles owned by Kosovo Serbs residing in its territory that drive with Serbian license plates. This is rejected by Belgrade. After the pact, those who have Serbian plates that are already in circulation will not be fined and Serbia will not issue more plates in Kosovar territory.

“The two parties have also agreed to return to the pacts of the past,” Borrell said, referring to a document signed by Serbia and Kosovo in 2013 to normalize their relations, which have not found a lasting peace since the Kosovars gained independence in 2008.

How did the license plate war start?

In the summer of 2021, Kosovo announced the ban on the use of Serbian license plates in northern cities, as well as not allowing the entry of these vehicles since its border country did that.

This caused armored vehicles and troops to be placed on the border of both countries.

On that occasion there was the mediation of the European Union and it was agreed to cover the national emblems with stickers until a solution was found in six months, this finally did not happen.

Pristina banned Serb identity cards and license plates for the north although there was later mutual recognition of the first documents. This is how, some time later, it was established that as of November 21 and for two months, vehicles with Serbian license plates would be penalized with 150 euros.

By April 2023, this was already going to be mandatory.

Kosovar Serb representatives have resigned from the institutions and demand their autonomy as agreed in 2013.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, assured this Thursday that the agreement reached with the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, on the conflict over license plates, is a step towards the normalization of relations with Belgrade and towards the recognition of Kosovar independence. by Serbia.

In statements in the Pristina Parliament, Kurti said that the dialogue between the two countries will enter a new phase to reach a global agreement “that solves the fundamental problems”, reported the Kosovar portal RTK2. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso

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