Yesterday, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić declared that Serbia and Kosovo were “on the brink of conflict,” after Kosovo deployed special forces to prevent a Serbian train painted in national colors, decorated in Orthodox icons, and with the nationalist slogan Kosovo je Srbija “Kosovo is Serbia” from entering Kosovar territory on Saturday. He added that “Albanians showed they want war.”
Kosovar President Hashim Thaçi had called on “leading officials to take the necessary measure to stop this train, which threatens Kosovo’s sovereignty. Eventually, the train was stopped on the Serbian side of the border. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić stated: “I decided to stop the train at Raska to avoid a conflict and save lives.”
Kosovar Prime Minister Isa Mustafa stated that the train departing from Belgrade toward Mitrovica sent “a message of occupation”:
The institutions of the Republic of Kosovo will always undertake such actions to protect the country’s sovereignty and not allow machines that will provoke with a message of occupation.
The relation between Serbia and Kosovo have been very tense lately, loaded with the construction of a wall in Mitrovica dividing the Kosovar and Serbian parts of the city, and the arrest in France of former Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.
Prime Minister Edi Rama, who is known for his good relations with Vučić, has so far not commented on the situation.