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Russian diplomacy fears an “interethnic conflict” in Kosovo

“The situation there [dans la province du Kosovo] has worsened again over the past month and is now on the verge of an inter-ethnic conflict”, worries Russian diplomacy in a press release.

Russia accuses the self-proclaimed authorities in Pristina of being responsible for the situation by wanting to “force Serbs living in the region to replace personal documents and car numbers with Kosovar numbers” by September 1.

After weeks of tension, a “free movement agreement” has been reached under the aegis of the EU between Serbia and its breakaway province. The latter gave up introducing on September 1, as was its intention, residence permits for people entering Kosovo with a Serbian identity card.

In exchange, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had agreed to abolish the residence permit that Belgrade imposed on visitors holding a Kosovar identity card to enter Serbia. The situation remains tense, however, and the agreement does not resolve the issue of registration plates for Kosovo Serbs whose change to Kosovar plates demanded by the local authorities in Pristina had caused renewed tension in July.

Washington’s shadow?

Moscow also sees on the occasion of this showdown an American attempt to “dig a gap” in the friendship and cooperation between Russia and Serbia, and to force the latter to join Western sanctions.

These assertions are based on remarks by the American ambassador in Belgrade, Christopher Hill, asking Serbia to share the “burden of sanctions” against Russia and to turn to its “true friends” in the West. “What is remarkable is that the American stubbornly refuses to see Serbia’s ‘signs of friendship’ with Russia,” the text points out.

The crisis continues anyway, it is getting worse

“We believe it is necessary to recall once again that UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which clearly defines [depuis juin 1999] the territorial integrity of Serbia, remains the legal basis for settling the Kosovo problem, whether we like it or not,” the Foreign Ministry further stated. Neither Moscow nor Belgrade recognize Kosovo’s independence.

As for the issue of license plates, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on August 27 that the problem was “much more complicated” than the question of identity papers. “The crisis continues anyway, it is getting worse,” he warned. NATO for its part declared that its peacekeeping force in Kosovo (Kfor) was “ready to intervene if the stability [de la région] was threatened.


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