European Union envoy Miroslav Lajcak said on Thursday that Belgrade and Pristina had reached an agreement to de-escalate tensions in the north of Kosovo.
“We have a deal! After two days of intense negotiations, an agreement on de-escalation and the way forward has just been reached,” Lajcak said in a Twitter post after almost two days of talks.
He thanked chief negotiators Serbia’s Petar Petkovic and Kosovo’s Besnik Bislimi for their readiness to negotiate. Petkovic and Bislimi had a number of separate meetings with Lajcak on Wednesday before the agreement was reached. Bislimi told reporters late on Wednesday that a three point agreement had been drafted which would resolve the vehicle license plate issue.
We have a deal! After two days of intense negotiations, an agreement on de-escalation and the way forward has just been reached. I thank Besnik Bislimi and Petar Petkovic for their readiness to negotiate and agree for the good of the people. pic.twitter.com/OuhuUWvuG0
— Miroslav Lajčák (@MiroslavLajcak) September 30, 2021
The European Commission issued a press release confirming that an agreement had been reached.
Tensions rose more than a week ago when the Kosovo government decided to ban Serbian license plates, forcing drivers to replace them with temporary Kosovo plates. The decision was taken after a 2016 freedom of movement agreement expired. That agreement allowed the Serbian authorities to ban Republic of Kosovo (RKS) license plates which replaced the UNMIK-issued KS plates.
Senior European Union officials have been urging Belgrade and Pristina to de-escalate the situation for days, following the deployment of the Kosovo Police special forces unit ROSU at the border and the subsequent order to put some Serbian military units of full alert.