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Kosovo and Serbia agree on license plates

Kosovo and Serbia agree on license plates

Kosovo and Serbia agree on license plates

Kosovo and Serbia agree on license plates

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  • Kosovo and Serbia end a disagreement over vehicle license plates.
  • It could spark ethnic conflict.
  • EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced the deal on Twitter.
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Kosovo and Serbia have ended a disagreement over vehicle license plates that the EU warned could spark ethnic conflict.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced the deal on Twitter.

Borrell: “We’re done.”

“Very delighted to inform you that Kosovo and Serbia have agreed on measures to avoid further escalation,” he stated.

Borrell said Serbia and Kosovo will work on an EU plan to normalize their relations. Kosovo proclaimed independence from Belgrade in 2008.

Serbia, Russia, China, and five EU members do not recognize Kosovo’s independence.

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The current dispute between the Western Balkan neighbors began when Pristina ordered its Serb minority to alter automobile plates issued before 1999, when Kosovo was part of Serbia.

Serbs in northern Kosovo, who refuse to recognize Pristina’s authority and consider themselves part of Serbia, have brutally rejected the prohibition.

As a symbol of disobedience, 600 police officers from Kosovo’s Serb minority deserted their positions this month.

Despite protests, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti vowed the plan would go forward before delaying it for two days amid US pressure.

The EU, which is mediating negotiations to normalize relations, wants both parties to avoid inflammatory moves.

Borrell stated Monday that Vucic was ready to accept a compromise but Kurti was not.

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Kurti chastised Borrell for focusing on license plates instead of normalizing neighborly relations.

Vucic blamed Kurti for the meeting’s failure.

Borrell tweeted Wednesday that Serbia will stop issuing license plates with Kosovo city marks and Kosovo will stop re-registering automobiles.

Borrell will invite both sides to debate an EU proposal, backed by France and Germany, to normalize relations in the coming days.

Washington praised Wednesday’s agreement.

“The two parties took a major step forward today, with EU facilitation,” said a US State Department spokeswoman.

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“We appreciate the two nations’ agreement to normalize relations under EU-facilitated discussion,” he continued.

Kosovo’s independence provoked a 13,000-person war between 1998 and 1999. Serbia cracked down hard on ethnic Albanian separatists.

1999 NATO bombing ended the war in Serbia.

3,700 peacekeepers from the security alliance are still on the ground.

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