Authorities in the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo announced late on Sunday they would postpone the implementation of their ban on Serbian license plates and identification documents until September 1.
The US ambassador reportedly urged Pristina to do so, as Kosovo police were met with roadblocks erected by local Serbs and NATO peacekeepers deployed to prevent clashes.
The delay was accompanied by a demand from PM Albin Kurti’s government that the Serbs dismantle their barricades, according to Pristina-based TV station Dukagjini, which said that Kurti’s decision followed a request by US ambassador to Kosovo, Jeffrey Hovenier.
Postponing the measures is necessary due to “misinformation and misunderstandings” about its nature, the outlet quoted Hovenier as saying. The US only asked for the implementation to be postponed, not canceled, he added.
Serbs in the north of the breakaway province had set up roadblocks and rung alarm bells earlier in the day, as heavily armed special police under Pristina’s authority took control of two administrative crossings with Serbia. Kurti’s government insisted that they would start barring vehicles with Serbian-issued license plates and other documents, in the name of imposing “law and order” on the entire territory of the province.
Both the local Serbs and Belgrade have objected, pointing out that Pristina has repeatedly failed to honor its obligations to respect the Serbs’ civil and human rights. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the Serbs “will not suffer any more atrocities,” and vowed to “win” if the ethnic Albanian government persisted in “persecuting, harassing and killing Serbs.”