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Top EU diplomat announces resolution to Kosovo-Serbia border tensions

Kosovo and Serbia have resolved a dispute over identity documents that has led to violent protests in the past, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said on Saturday on Twitter.

Due to EU-mediated talks, “Serbia agreed to abolish entry/exit documents for Kosovo ID holders and Kosovo agreed to not introduce them for Serbian ID holders,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.

The two West Balkan countries have been at loggerheads after Kosovo planned to stop recognizing Serbian identity documents at the start of August. Serbian authorities do not recognize Kosovan documents.

In response, Serb militants blocked access to two border crossings in northern Kosovo, which is predominantly populated by Serbs. Kosovo police reported that unidentified perpetrators fired shots at Kosovan officers, though no one was injured.

Tensions eased after Pristina agreed to continue to recognize Serbian-issued number plates and documents for Kosovan citizens for another 30 days.

EU-mediated crisis talks earlier in August failed to provide a breakthrough. Serbian and Kosovan leaders agreed to keep talking, however.

Congratulating both sides, Borrell said the agreement meant that “Kosovo Serbs, as well as all other citizens, will be able to travel freely between Kosovo [and] Serbia using their ID cards,” adding that Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti had guaranteed the EU as much.

Later, Kurti tweeted himself: “Citizens of our Republic may now travel to Serbia freely as equals. … Reciprocity is the spirit of a principled & just solution.” He also thanked the EU officials who mediated the talks.

European Council President Charles Michel also tweeted to congratulate all sides on the deal.

Kosovo, which is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Albanians, broke away from Serbia in 1999 and declared independence in 2008.

Serbia has not recognized Kosovo’s independence and continues to lay claim to the territory. Most EU countries recognize Kosovo as a separate state.

Source : Raw Story