The United States and Britain called for the removal of barriers erected by groups of the Serb minority in northern Kosovo.
On Monday, the US embassies in Pristina and Belgrade issued a joint statement on developments in northern Kosovo, following an attack by Serb groups on a patrol team of the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EOLEX).
The statement pointed to the exploitation of the arrest of a person suspected of involvement in the attack, as a pretext to threaten the Kosovo authorities and the local population and spread terror, and to block roads illegally.
The statement called for an end to all forms of threats made through violence and intimidation.
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He added, “We welcome and support the efforts of EULEX and the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR) to ensure security and freedom of movement.”
The British embassies in Pristina and Belgrade also issued a similar joint statement calling for the removal of barriers erected by local Serbs in northern Kosovo.
In turn, German Foreign Minister Analina Berbock said, in a statement on the tension in Kosovo, that the decision to postpone early general elections in 4 municipalities in the north of the country led to an easing of tensions in Kosovo, while Serbia did the opposite when it threatened to send troops to Kosovo.
Birbock stressed that Serbia’s speech and the attack on “Eulex” are unacceptable.
In a statement following the Security Council meeting in Kosovo, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti stated that 23 years after the end of the war in the country, Serbia has once again threatened war and the return of the army to Kosovo’s territory.
Kurti called on the NATO-led Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) to guarantee freedom of movement in the north of the country.
On Sunday, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, warned of possible attacks on the European Union’s Law Enforcement Mission in Kosovo (EOLEX) amid high tensions in the north of the country.
“The European Union will not tolerate any possible attacks targeting EULEX in Kosovo, or the use of violence and criminality in the north,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.
The European official stressed that “the Kosovo Serb groups must immediately remove the barriers and restore calm.”
“During the night, the northern regions witnessed explosions, shootings, and roadblocks, where the majority of the population is ethnic Serb,” the US news agency “Associated Press” quoted Kosovo police and local media, on Sunday, as saying.
The Kosovo police had previously announced the closure of the two border crossings with Serbia in the north of the country for security reasons.
In turn, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced that his country will officially request the NATO Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo (KFOR) to deploy elements of the Serbian police and army in Kosovo in accordance with United Nations Resolution 1244.
In response, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that his country would respond to any aggression against it.
Tensions escalated between the two neighboring countries after the Pristina government’s attempt to ask the Kosovo Serbs to replace old car plates coming from neighboring Serbia with plates issued by Kosovo.
The decision led to the withdrawal of Kosovo Serbs from all central and local institutions, but late last month an agreement was reached to end the conflict.
Kosovo, which has a majority Albanian population, separated from Serbia in 1999 and declared its independence from it in 2008, but Belgrade still considers it part of its territory and supports a Serb minority in it.