Authorities in Pristina are planning an assault on the north of Kosovo where mostly Serbs reside, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić claimed on Wednesday, without providing any evidence.
Vučić’s statement comes after the government of Kosovo issued a decision on Wednesday (30 June) requiring Serbs visiting the country to acquire a temporary Kosovo ID. This reciprocal measure mirrors Serbia’s demands for Kosovo citizens entering its territory.
Serbia’s president expressed his concerns meeting with Miroslav Lajčak, the EU Envoy for the Prishtina-Belgrade dialogue on Wednesday.
According to him, the deadline to replace Serbian licence plates on 30 September set by the government coincided with the date for when the “assault” is set to begin.
The license plate issue escalated when Kosovo started requiring Serbian vehicles to temporarily change their plates to Kosovo plates while in the country, like Kosovo vehicles are required in Serbia.
As a response, Belgrade sent the military to the border, including helicopters, troops, and military jets and demanded Kosovo withdraw its own police from its own side of the border.
Serbia also organised protests and roadblocks, and while Kosovo reiterated its willingness to lift requirements if Serbia did the same, the latter refused. A deal was then hashed out whereby both countries would cover their flags on their license plates with stickers while in the other’s country.
Meanwhile, a permanent solution should be found by 30 June 2022. Negotiations have drawn a blank, and the sticker regime is set to remain in force for longer while dialogue continues.
Serbia is always ready for dialogue, the president said, adding that “some people are never ready, and they have the support of the Western powers”.
“They had the full support of Great Britain, Germany and the other Quint countries,” he added.
The issue is, however that Serbia has repeatedly failed to implement agreements, including the original license plate agreement from 2011.
Vučić has often repeated claims of “attacks” from Kosovo authorities. For example, when dismantling organised crime groups or dealing with bribery at border checkpoints, the president has said they are acts of hostility against Serbs.
As for the matter of a number of attacks on state police in Serb-majority north Kosovo, including grenades, machine guns, and Molotov cocktails, Belgrade has remained silent.
Meanwhile, nothing new came out of Lajcak’s visit to Prishtina on Tuesday, where he met with Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
Dialogue between the two countries has stalled since July 2021. While head negotiators have met on several occasions, they have yet to settle on agenda matters for a formal meeting between Kosovo’s and Serbia’s leaders. Furthermore, the core issue-that of Kosovo’s independence and recognition, has never been on the table.