Serbia and Kosovo set for talks in Brussels amid tensions

NATO chief requires calm and says the organisation’s peacekeepers had been able to intervene if obligatory.

The leaders of Kosovo and Serbia will be part of EU-mediated talks in Brussels on Thursday geared toward averting what Pristina says is a risk of renewed armed battle, as ethnic Serb and Albanian residents of Kosovo say they see little hope of progress.

Long-running tensions flared anew this month after Kosovo stated Serbs living in its northern area – who’re backed by Belgrade and don’t recognise Kosovo establishments – should begin utilizing automobile licence plates issued in Pristina.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti informed the Reuters information company in an interview final week that Belgrade’s “aggressive policies” may flip into “an assault against Kosovo in one way or the other”.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Holds A Joint News Conference With Kosovo'S Prime Minister Albin Kurti
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (proper) holds a joint information convention with Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti on the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 17, 2022 [Johanna Geron/Reuters]

Kurti, who will be part of Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic for the talks in Brussels, has agreed beneath Western strain to postpone the licence plate regulation till September 1.

“I don’t expect anything tomorrow and both these men will not solve anything. Tensions are unavoidable between Kosovo and Serbia in the future,” Malush Bajraj, 41, an ethnic Albanian resident of Kosovo’s capital Pristina, informed Reuters information company.

The temper is equally gloomy amongst ethnic Serbs who make up simply 5 % of Kosovo’s 1.eight million, primarily ethnic Albanian inhabitants.

“I am not optimistic that this round of the dialogue will be successful,” stated Nenad Radosavljevic, editor in chief of RTV Mir, which broadcasts to Serbs living in northern Kosovo, citing the downbeat messages popping out of each capitals.

Escalating tensions

Kosovo, a landlocked Balkan nation, gained independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after an rebellion towards Belgrade rule.

Today each Belgrade and Pristina are looking for EU membership, however Serbia legally nonetheless considers Kosovo an integral a part of its territory. With Russia’s assist, it has blocked Kosovo from membership in varied worldwide establishments.

Thursday’s talks are anticipated to cowl a spread of points from larger autonomy to municipalities in northern Kosovo with a Serb majority. Kurti has stated such a step would contravene Kosovo’s structure.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday known as for calm from all sides and stated the alliance’s 3,700-strong peacekeeping pressure in Kosovo stood able to intervene if stability was in danger.

“NATO will take any measure necessary to preserve safety and security for all communities. All must engage constructively in the EU-led Belgrade–Pristina dialogue,” he tweeted after his assembly with Vuvic in Brussels.

Stoltenberg stated NATO-led troops stationed in Kosovo have strengthened their presence on Kosovo’s northern border with Serbia due to the present tensions.

“But of course, we will act when needed and we will act in a proportionate way because our main aim is to help to reduce tensions and to ensure all communities’ freedom of movement – the safety of all communities, including, of course, the Serbs in Kosovo,” Stoltenberg added.

Vucic stated it was “a lie” that Serbia needs to intervene in Kosovo however added {that a} technology of recent Serb “kids” living in there “do not consider Kosovo as an independent state and view it as a part of Serbia”.

“We are going to have difficult discussions tomorrow,” Vucic stated. “We do not agree almost on anything.”

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