Serbia-Kosovo negotiations ‘a failure’ according to media – RT World News
The two sides failed to reach an agreement over Pristina’s plans to ban Belgrade license plates
EU-sponsored talks between Serbia and its breakaway region of Kosovo have broken down, media in the country reported on Monday, citing diplomatic sources. The talks in Brussels preceded a new deadline for implementing Pristina’s controversial plan to phase out Serbian license plates, which Belgrade strongly opposes.
“The solution that has been proposed has canceled the Brussels agreement, which Serbia cannot accept”, an anonymous source told Blic newspaper. “It seems that difficult and uncertain days are ahead of us, especially in northern Kosovo and Metohija.”
The 2013 Brussels agreement provided a roadmap to normalize relations between the government of Serbia and authorities in the breakaway region. Belgrade has repeatedly declared that it has fulfilled all its obligations, while accusing Kosovo of jeopardizing the agreement. Last March, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic claimed that the Brussels agreement no longer existed.
Vucic is expected to address the nation about the breakdown of the talks later today, according to the newspaper. Speaking to local media on Sunday, the president warned that Kosovo could turn into “hell on earth” if the local authorities did not abandon their plan for license plates.
In recent months, Pristina has repeatedly tried to enforce its license plate plan, sparking tensions in the regions. Under the scheme, which involves some 10,000 drivers in the region, plates issued by Serbia are expected to be replaced by those issued by Kosovo by April 21 next year.
Drivers who do not comply must first receive a warning, before then incurring a fine of €150 at second instance, and having their vehicle confiscated if they continue to display Serbian license plates. Pristina is expected to start enforcing the fines on Tuesday.
An attempt to implement the program in July nearly led to fighting between Serbia and the breakaway region, with a crisis narrowly averted thanks to the intervention of European and American diplomats. In early November, ethnic Serbs resigned en masse from government posts in Kosovo after a local police chief was sacked by Pristina for refusing to implement the license plate plan.
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