Serbian officials have returned to the war-mongering discourse after the decision of the Government of Kosovo on June 29 obliging Serbian citizens to change Serbia’s illegal license plates into RKS ones. During the meeting of the Government, the decision was made to enable the registration of vehicles with RKS license plates to citizens who have used license plates ‘PR’, ‘KM’, ‘PZ’, ‘GL’, ‘UR’, ‘PE’, ‘DA’ or ‘ĐA’, from June 10, 1999 until April 21, 2022. With this decision, the Government of Kosovo has established reciprocity regarding the entry of citizens of Serbia in Kosovo.
“Each person who wants to cross the state border with a personal identification document issued by the Serbian authorities, should be provided at the border crossing points with a declaration sheet that temporarily replaces the use of such a document,” is said in the press release of the Prime Minister’s Office.
According to this decision, registration will begin at the beginning of August and will last until September 31.
Serbia also applies such a measure against Kosovo citizens. However, after this decision, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has declared with regard to license plates for Serbs living in the north of Kosovo that the purpose of Kosovo’s decision is to “drive out the Serbs” and cause a new “storm” against the Serbian people, comparing the Croatian army’s 1995 Oluja [Storm] action that drove most Serbs out of Croatia. He also threatened that Serbia’s response would be deadly.
However, this statement by Vucic is a deliberate manipulation to incite tensions.
The director of the so-called “Kosovo Office” in the Government of Serbia, Petar Petkovic, made a similar remark saying that this is a “war threat.”
“It is unacceptable that in the face of such a threat and smearing that the representatives of the international community remain silent and pretend to be ignorant, while Albin Kurti is preparing the start of a major conflict and an attack on the Serbs at the end of September. With their silence, they become direct accomplices of the new destabilization of the situation on the ground, led by Albin Kurti, caused by the new unilateral decision of the government in Pristina,” says Petkovic’s reaction.
Through a video-message in Serbian, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, has called on citizens to convert illegal license plates into RKS ones in order to establish legality.
The Government’s decision was supported by EU’s Spokesman Peter Stano, stating that Kosovo has the right to remove KM license plates according to the agreements of 2011 and 2016, but that it is important that the implementation of this decision is done in accordance with the citizens.
This decision was taken by the Government of Kosovo after the failure to reach a permanent agreement on license plates in Brussels. This agreement is set out in last year’s document through which the border points in Jarinje and Bërnjak were unblocked.
The border points in Jarinje and Bërnjak had been blocked for almost two weeks by Serbian protesters.