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US voices ‘concern’ as Kosovo, Serbia fail to resolve car license plate dispute

"We have asked the Government of Kosovo to postpone for 48 hours the imposition of fines to allow the EU and the United States to further engage the parties to find a solution", Hovenier said in a statement.

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that he has accepted the US request and postponed imposing fines.

“I thank Ambassador Hovenier for his commitment and engagement. I accept his request for a 48-hour postponement on the imposition of fines for illegal ‘KM’ (and other) car plates. I am happy to work with the US and the EU to find a solution during the next two days,” said Kurti.

Serbia and Kosovo on Monday failed to reach an agreement to resolve a dispute related to car license plates after a series of meetings in Brussels.

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo have risen since ethnic Serbs in Kosovo withdrew from all central and local institutions in protest over Pristina’s decision to replace old car license plates issued by Serbian authorities with those from Kosovo.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell held an emergency meeting focused on the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo to discuss how to find a solution to the car license plate crisis.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, with most UN member states including the US, UK, France, Germany and Türkiye recognizing it as a separate autonomous country from its neighbor.

But Belgrade continues to regard it as its territory.

On Monday, the second phase of Kosovo's decision on the re-registration of vehicles is expected to begin, with the owners of vehicles with Serbian license plates to be fined €150 ($154).

Pristina said it will start issuing fines this month to Serb drivers using old pre-independence plates and will confiscate vehicles with outdated registration numbers after April 21, 2023.

The EU and NATO have urged both Serbia and Kosovo to refrain from unilateral actions and resolve outstanding issues through dialogue.

Brussels has facilitated the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, which is designed to ease tensions and resolve bilateral issues, one of the requirements for full-fledged EU membership.

Source: Anadolu Agency