Kosovo removing license plates from Serbia after Serbia calls Kosovar plates illegal, charges $6 for 'temporary' plates.
Ethnic Serbs blocked the Kosovo-Serbia border for a third straight day Wednesday to protest a decision by Kosovo authorities to start removing Serbian license plates from cars entering the country, in retalition for an earlier Serbian move to do the same thing, the Associated Press reports.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti called on Serbs to move vehicles away “because they are blocking themselves.” Small groups of Serbs spent the night in tents and they have blocked the roads to the Jarinje and Brnjak border crossings with trucks.
The recent incident has raised fears that it may unleash much deeper tensions between the two Balkan neighbors.
Serbia, which doesn’t recognize its former province of Kosovo as a separate nation, has for years been taking off registration plates from Kosovo-registered cars entering Serbia. Drivers need to pay five euros (nearly $6) for a 60-day temporary license plate.
Serbia considers its border with Kosovo as an “administrative” and temporary boundary.
Tensions soared Monday when Kosovo special police with armored vehicles were sent to the border to impose the same rule of temporarily replacing Serb license plates from cars while they drive in Kosovo.
Kosovo authorities said a 2016 deal with Serbia reached in European Union-mediated talks had expired and now only official Kosovo symbols are valid.
“Our offer is very practical, let’s lift the temporary plates, in Serbia and in Kosovo,” Kurti said at the government meeting.
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