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Vucic warns against Kosovo license 'punishing' Serbs

FM stresses Italy's top-level role for peace in Balkans

24 November, 15:22

    (ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, 24 NOV - According to Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic, the most important thing in an agreement reached on Wednesday evening between Belgrade and Pristina was that Serbs will not be subjected to vexations and punishments and that Serb license plates remain valid.

    Speaking to journalists after a meeting with the leaders of Republika Srpska, the Serb-majority entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Vucic said that for Belgrade "it is important that in the statement on the agreement there be clear reference to the need to respect and implement agreements already signed in the past, which is of crucial importance, for us the most important thing." For the return of Serbs to their positions in Kosovo institutions, Vucic said, the first condition has been met: there will not be fines or seizures of vehicles with Serbian licence plates.

    The second, he noted, remains: the creation of communities of Serb municipalities in Kosovo.

    "When this happens, then we can go forward," he said.

    After three days of tension, fast-paced talks and reciprocal attacks, the EU managed to achieve an agreement between Serbia and Kosovo on a proposal that wards off yet another escalation in a crisis over vehicle licenses that for months has created friction in relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

    The agreement was reached over the night at the end of a lengthy meeting between chief negotiators Petar Petkovic and Besnik Bislimi, mediated by special representative for Pristina-Belgrade dialogue Miroslav Lajcak.

    The parties involved agreed on measures to avoid further escalation and to fully concentrate, urgently, on a proposal for normalisation of their relations that was presented in September by the EU and backed by France and Germany, according to a statement by EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell.

    Serbia will not issue new licence plates with the names of cities of Kosovo and Kosovo will cease another further action related to vehicle registration.

    The EU will ensure that issues and basic principles concerning normalisation will be dealt with as part of the proposal, the statement added, noting the need for both parties to implement agreements for dialogue previously signed.

    The parties involved are urged to discuss in the coming days the successive phases in the framework of the proposal, with the aim of presenting results by the time of the next special group on normalisation with Kosovo and the updating on Chapter 35 for Serbia.

    The EU can put an end to the process in the case of obstruction by either of the parties.

    "The first step that was done in Brussels yesterday by representatives of Kosovo and Serbia came the day after a visit that we conducted alongside Defense Minister Guido Crosetto. We encouraged the parties involved to get past the obstacles and facilitate the first agreement," Italy foreign minister Antonio Tajani said.

    He added that he continued to be in contact with the leaders of the two countries and that "also today I spoke [to them] so that, after the first step, other steps will be done to ensure stability in the Balkans." (ANSAmed).

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