Recognition dispute this time centers around license plates, as Serbia threatens use of force

The NATO-led KFOR mission in Kosovo on Monday increased its patrols on the border with Serbia in a bid to deescalate tensions between the two Balkan foes over a dispute about license plates, that is serving as a proxy battle over the recognition of Kosovo’s sovereignty by Serbia.

The move comes a day after Serbia President Aleksandar Vucic warned NATO that Serbia will intervene in Kosovo if Kosovo Serbs come under serious threat from the majority Kosovo Albanians, the Associated Press reports.

Serbia has raised its military alert last week, and Serbian military jets and helicopters were flying close to the border with Kosovo in an apparent show of force.

“KFOR has increased the number and time length of the routine patrolling all around Kosovo, including northern Kosovo,” the force said in a statement.

The U.S. Embassy in Serbia tweeted that American and Canadian defense officials had visited the Jarinje and Brnjak border crossings “to gain a better understanding of the situation.”

KFOR, with around 4,000 troops from 28 countries, is led by NATO but is supported by the United Nations, the European Union and other international actors. Its aim is to stave off lingering ethnic tensions between majority Kosovo Albanians and minority Kosovo Serbs.

The move comes a day after Serbia President Aleksandar Vucic warned NATO that Serbia will intervene in Kosovo if Kosovo Serbs come under serious threat from the majority Kosovo Albanians.

Serbia has raised its military alert last week, and Serbian military jets and helicopters were flying close to the border with Kosovo in an apparent show of force.

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