NATO Chief Discusses Tensions In Kosovo With Serbian, Kosovar Leaders

BRUSSELS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th September, 2021) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talked by phone with Serbian President Alexander Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Sunday to discuss soaring tensions in the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo.

On Monday, Serbs residing in northern Kosovo staged a peaceful rally on the administrative line between the region and central Serbia against a ban on Serbian license plates imposed by Kosovo. The new regulation requires that all vehicles entering Kosovo be equipped with temporary Pristina-issued license plates, which provoked dissent among the Serb population. Kosovar police deployed tear gas on Monday evening against the protesters at Yarine and Brnjak checkpoints, but they refused to disperse.

"I spoke to (President Vucic) of #Serbia & (Prime Minister Kurti) of #Kosovo about the need to de-escalate in the north of Kosovo. It's vital both Belgrade & Pristina show restraint & return to dialogue. (NATO Kosovo Force's) mandate remains to ensure a safe & secure environment & freedom of movement for all," Stoltenberg tweeted.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has also held phone calls with the two leaders.

"Both Kosovo and Serbian leaders are fully responsible for any risks to the safety and well-being of local communities is on both Kosovo and Serbia. I stressed this in my calls with President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti this week," Borrell said in a statement.

Vucic said in a special address on Monday evening that Serbia will call on NATO and the international KFOR contingent under the auspices of the alliance to protect the lives and property of Serbs in Kosovo. The special representative of the UN Secretary, Zahir Tanin, has called on all sides to avoid fighting and move on to dialogue.