Serbia has promised to intensify negotiations with Kosovo to try to resolve the dispute affecting tens of thousands of Serbs in that region, who have a September 1 deadline to change their identity documents and vehicle registration.
“We have no choice but to preserve peace, stability and security,” said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who has accused Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti of mistreating and pressuring the Serb minority to leave the territory.
“I guarantee that there will be no convoys of refugees,” the Serbian president has promised from Belgrade, tells Bloomberg agency. Just over 100,000 Serbs out of a population of 1.8 million live in Kosovo, after more than 200,000 fled following the 1998-1999 war.
Kosovo announced in late July a ban on Serbian documentation for residents of its territory, claiming that this was a reciprocal measure, as Belgrade does not accept theirs either. This provoked new tensions on the border, which led the European Union to demand that they sit down to negotiate.
Vucic and Kurt met in Brussels last week, but failed to achieve any significant breakthrough. The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, assured that they would not give up and reminded the parties that they “have no alternative” to the EU-sponsored ‘Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue’.
A possible entry of Kosovo and Serbia into the European Union depends on reaching an agreement on this and other issues related to their relations, battered since Kosovo declared its independence in 2008.