Serbia and Russia ‘Using License Plate Dispute’, Foreign Minister Says

Donika Gërvalla, Foreign and Diaspora Minister, says that the license plate issue is being used by Serbia and Russia to inflame tensions in Kosovo.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Donika Gërvalla, said on Tuesday at the Western Balkans Summit 2022 that the license plate issue is being used by Serbia and Russia to increase the threat to peace in Kosovo.

Gërvalla said Serbia has made the issue of license plates the main problem. Serbia has said the issue “is a technical problem”.

“A technical problem, which comes from our neighbors, which takes a technical problem, making it the main problem, so the UK, the EU partners and the US have been talking to us for months; it shows that if you don’t choose the big problems, you will spend time on technical problems,” she said.

The Special Envoy of the US for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, has asked President Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti to postpone any decisions on converting license plates for 10 months.

But the government has said that it will not postpone its deadline, a decision which is supported by Kosovo President Osmani.

Speaking at the summit, Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that Kosovo had postponed its deadline once already, calling on all ethnic Serbian citizens to convert their number plates to Kosovo ones in the remaining days.

“I once again call on all citizens of Kosovo who are of Serbian origin to convert their license plates. Let’s not forget that the campaign continues, we are continuing the campaign through the media, official public meetings, so that RKS license plates are added and other license plates are removed,” Kurti said.

The government has decided that the owners of vehicles with license plates “PR”, “KM”, “PZ”, “GL”, “UR”, “PE”, “DA”, which were installed between June 10, 1999 and April 21, 2022 , to register their vehicles with Republic of Kosovo RKS license plates.

The deadline for registration has been open since October 1 and will be last until the end of the month, but less than 20 vehicles have been registered so far.

It is estimated that around 10,000 cars in the Serb-majority north of Kosovo still have Serbian-issued license plates bearing abbreviations of Kosovo cities such as PR, PZ, KM, UR and the like. Kosovo now deems them illegal. Serbia has suggested that Serbs in the north of Kosovo use KS license plates, which have a neutral status, but Kurti has rejected this proposal.

The Western Balkans Summit 2022, organized by The Economist in cooperation with the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, is being held in Pristina today.

The theme of this summit is building bridges for peace, prosperity and solidarity.

26/10/2022 - 10:41

26 October 2022 - 10:41

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