"We’ll remove measures on license plates, if Serbia does the same"

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti said today that Kosovo is ready to lift the measure on reciprocity for license plates with Serbia if Belgrade will do the same for license plates of vehicles from Kosovo.

“Our decision is an equal measure with what Serbia has been applying for Kosovo citizens for two decades now. I am ready to lift this measure anytime if Serbia pledges to do the same. We do not rejoice in the provisional license plates. We would like for neither Kosovo nor Serbia to have provisional license plates, but to have freedom of movement for all citizens without delays,” Kurti told a press conference in Prishtina.

Because of the reciprocity measure on license plates for vehicles from Serbia, local Serbs have blocked two national roads in the northern part of Kosovo in protest against the measure. Both roads that lead to the border crossing points of Jarinje and Bernjak are blocked by dozens of trucks and cars that were put there by Serb citizens. The protests are being supported by local leaders in the northern municipalities and by Belgrade.

Members of Kosovo Police special units have also been at the border crossings since Monday. They are blocked between the crossing points and the protests and police have so far undertaken no measure to free the roads.

Prime Minister Kurti called on Serb citizens to free the roads that lead to the two crossing points. “I am informed that the blockades on the roads leading to the border crossings 1 and 31 are with trucks that are part of municipal institutions and this is certainly a violation and abuse of public property. I call on the mayors of the municipalities in the north to remove the vehicles of municipal institutions from the roads and I also call on the organized group of Serb citizens to leave the two regional roads, namely their blockades, because they are blocking themselves too,” Kurti said.

During a government meeting today, Kurti said that it is not in Serbia’s interest to refuse the dialogue and talks.

“We believe that Brussels is the place where meetings and talks must be held and we are of course always ready, open, and interested because this is also in the interest of the people,” he said.

PM Kurti said that “the decision on temporary license plates is right and that it guarantees the right to freedom of movement for all Kosovo citizens, including Serb citizens all over Kosovo, by providing them with permanent Kosovo license plates. The positive response by our citizens these days, including local Serbs, is the best proof of their readiness to respect the decision and to ensure freedom of movement”.