From: Alice Taylor
Albania Reacts to Kosovo-Serbia Deal, License Plate Issue Still Unresolved

After Kosovo and Serbia reached a landmark deal concerning ID documents for citizens from each respective country, travelling to the other on Saturday (27 August), Albanian politicians have widely supported the news.

While Prishtina was originally set to introduce an additional administrative requirement for Serbs entering the country, similar to that required of Kosovo citizens entering Serbia, on 1 September, now both countries have agreed to waive entry and exit requirements for citizens.

Prime Minister Edi Rama who cultivates a good relationship with Serbia’s Aleksander Vucic and a slightly more frosty one with Kosovo’s Albin Kurti, welcomed the good news and wished for more of the same in the future.

“Good news, the solution of the issue of free movement between Serbia and Kosovo through dialogue, and along with congratulations to both sides, I hope that this development will take the dialogue to a new level, so as not to waste endless time and energy in achieving things as simply logical as this today’, writes Rama in a post on social networks.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Olta Xhacka added it is good news for the region and expressed thanks to those involved in mediation.

“Dialogue is always the way. Congratulations to the two leaders and gratitude to the EU for facilitating the dialogue”, she wrote on Twitter.

Albania’s new President, Bajram Begaj also commented, thanking the EU and US for their involvement.

Delighted to hear the news about the agreement that facilitates travel between Kosovo and Serbia. This is in the best interest of all citizens,” he added.

Opposition leader Sali Berisha also spoke on the news, stating that the agreement is an important step in the right direction.

“Dear friends, Kosovo and Serbia agreed to solve the document problem based on the principle of equality and reciprocity required by the government of Kosovo, ie the respective recognition of each other’s documents and the free movement of citizens. The Democratic Party has unwaveringly supported the solution of this problem created by the Serbian side on the basis of reciprocity and equality between the parties”, says Berisha.

While the agreement is indeed good news in terms of the ongoing tensions between the two countries, the matter of license plates is still yet to be resolved. Kosovo intends to enforce the requirement that all Kosovo citizens have license plates issued by Kosovo’s institutions from 1 September. There has been no progress on the matter, and on Saturday, Vucic said he did not expect a solution any time soon.

Responding to questions from Albanian media, the US State Department said they hope there will be further developments by the end of the month.

“I expect that by the end of the month, based on the commitments of both parties and the hard work of the Special Representative for the European Union, we will find a way to move forward in a peaceful way”, the spokesperson emphasized.