Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic says he is not overly excited about the recently announced deal with breakaway Kosovo over Belgrade-issued vehicle license plates, arguing it could be a sign of future pressure on the country.
Under the EU-brokered deal, which was reached in Brussels on Wednesday after several failed attempts, Serbia is expected to stop issuing “KM” license plates for cities in Kosovo, while Pristina will is committed to stop persecuting Kosovo Serbs who have Serb-issued license plates. on their vehicles.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Vucic said the deal is just a “small tactical victory, which will lead us to an even more difficult situation and more pressure” in the future. “That’s why you can’t see too much joy in me, because I know hard times are ahead of us,” said the Serbian leader.
Vucic admitted he was pleased that the agreement had preserved peace for the people and helped to avoid endangering the whole of Serbia, but stressed that the Kosovo Serbs are “fed up” with constant pressure and “terror” of Pristina and that the situation in the region is “literally boiling.”
Kosovo is a province of Serbia occupied by NATO after the 1999 bombing campaign. Its provisional government of Albanian origin declared its independence in 2008, with the support of the United States. While the EU has urged Belgrade to recognize the region’s independence, Serbia has vehemently refused to do so and considers Kosovo part of its territory.
Current tensions began when Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti announced a ban on Serbian license plates in late July, claiming it was a “rule of law” issue, sparking violent clashes between Kosovo Serbs and law enforcement in Pristina.
Belgrade had warned that the Serbian army would intervene to protect ethnic Serbs in Kosovo if they were persecuted. NATO, which has a contingent of 3,700 blue helmets in the separatist region, has declared itself ready to intervene in the event of violence.
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