2022-08-01T073834Z_1612167852_RC2FNV98K80U_RTRMADP_3_KOSOVO-TENSION-SERBS

Kosovo, the other open conflict in Europe that places Spain and Russia on the same side

Last Sunday night, a column of trucks loaded with gravel, vans and buses advanced along the road that leads to Jarinje border crossing, which separates the Republic of Kosovo from neighboring Serbia. A little more than 80 kilometers away, another line of heavy vehicles was heading from the city of Mitrovica, with a majority Serb population, towards the Bernjak border crossing. Shortly before arriving, the cars they started to stopblocking the roads to leave the territory from the north.

behind these barricades it’s found the Kosovo Serb minority that he opposes the new government law requiring all car license plates to have Kosovar plates within a maximum of two months. Thus, ethnic Serbs living in Kosovo who still use Serbian-issued plates must replace them.

In addition, the regulations also require holders of Serbian identity documents and passports obtain an additional document to enter Kosovo. A measure that must be complied with, but in reverse, by those Kosovars who want to cross the border with Serbia.

2022-08-01T073834Z_1612167852_RC2FNV98K80U_RTRMADP_3_KOSOVO-TENSION-SERBS

In principle, the Kosovar rule was to come into force on Monday, August 1, but the country’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, has been forced to postpone its application until September 1. Everything, with the aim of stopping a new escalation of tension between his country and Serbia, of which Kosovo unilaterally seceded in 2008, nine years after from the end of the war with Belgrade (1998-1999).

Instability in the region

More than two decades have passed since then, but peace is not yet a reality, but a goal that, for a few months, seems to be further and further away. Especially since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia (a historic ally of Serbia) has raised fears that a new war front in the heart of Europe.

Indeed, in March, just days after Moscow began bombing kyiv, Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani said that “the Kremlin’s goals also included destabilizing the Western Balkans.” It is not the only nation that sees the global instability caused by the war in Ukraine as a threat to its sovereignty.

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The former Yugoslav republics of North Macedonia and Albania they have recently managed to unblock the negotiations to join the European Union after years of waiting. Partly also because the strategic importance of the Balkans has increased considerably.

Without going any further, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, has called for greater cooperation with these countries to prevent Russia from “exploit weaknesses“of a region in an unstable equilibrium.

NATO’s presence

If a certain stability has been achieved in this time, it is thanks to the fact that Kosovo is supported by NATO, which currently has more than 3,700 troops deployed in the country. They are part of the International Security Force for Kosovo (KFOR), the military section of the Alliance that entered the territory in 1999.

It was in the summer, after the United Nations became provisional administrator of the territory after the war and the UN Security Council approved Resolution 1244 that allows the international presence in the territory.

However, the military organization intervened in the conflict months before, when it bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days in an unprecedented operation whose objective was “prevent ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo, with an Albanian majority and a Muslim religion. Since then, NATO soldiers have been tasked with maintaining order and security in Kosovo.

Hence, in the current dispute, KFOR announce that it “was prepared to intervene” should the stability of northern Kosovo be endangered. “All necessary measures will be taken to maintain a secure environment at all times, in accordance with its UN mandate,” the unit warned Sunday in a statement posted on its Twitter account. tweetr.

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Non-recognition of Kosovo

In this regard, NATO has also recalled its support for the process of normalizing relations between Pristina and Belgrade. Negotiations that have been going on since 2011 with the European Union as mediator and that has the objective of creating the necessary conditions for both countries to achieve their aspirations of joining the EU.

Spain, Greece, Slovakia, Cyprus and Romania are the five European countries that do not recognize the independence of Kosovo

However, the independence and sovereignty of Kosovo are a matter of debate even within the community bloc. Today, five countries –Spain, Greece, Slovakia, Cyprus and Romania– They do not recognize the unilateral declaration of Kosovar independence in 2008. A position contrary to the rest of the European partners, but which is aimed at not setting a precedent in their respective States.

In this way, they join countries like China and Russia, who also do not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign country and who have veto power in the UN Security Council. It is clear that Serbia from the first moment showed its opposition to the separation of what was once a Serbian province. However, in total there are about 50 countries, including powers such as India or Brazil, which are refuse to recognize the independence of the territory.

Source: Elespanol

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