Serbia and Kosovo reached a deal on Wednesday to end a nearly two-year dispute over car licence plates in northern Kosovo, which the West had warned could trigger ethnic violence, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said.
“We have a deal,” Josep Borrell posted on Twitter after the agreement was reached in Brussels under EU mediation.
“Very pleased to announce that chief negotiators of Kosovo and Serbia under EU facilitation have agreed on measures to avoid further escalation and to fully concentrate on the proposal on normalisation of their relations,” he added.
Kosovo had planned to start issuing fines from Thursday to some 10,000 Serb drivers who continue to use Serbian-issued car licence plates.
We reached an agreement between #Kosovo and #Serbia today that will allow to avoid further escalation.— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) November 23, 2022
We will discuss next steps within the framework of our proposal for normalisation of relations between the two parties. pic.twitter.com/YQ7vVWPOgT
Kosovo has attempted this year to require its Serb minority to change their old car plates that date before 1999 when Kosovo was still part of Serbia. Serbs in the northern part of the country have resisted, sometimes violently.
The United States welcomes the agreements reached between Kosovo and Serbia to avoid further escalation of tensions and to concentrate fully and urgently on normalizing relations under the auspices of the EU-facilitated dialogue. https://t.co/MoQGmRAxlL— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) November 24, 2022
Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence is recognised by around 110 countries but not by Serbia, Russia, China and five EU member states. NATO still has some 3,700 peacekeepers on the ground to maintain the fragile peace.
I want to thank @USAmbKosovo Jeff Hovenier and the U.S. Government for their active engagement in reaching today’s deal in Brussels. Their support for the dialog process b/w Kosovo & Serbia is indispensable. 🇽🇰 is grateful.— Vjosa Osmani (@VjosaOsmaniPRKS) November 23, 2022