FILE PHOTO- Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti appears on throughout a information convention with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Germany May 4, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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MITROVICA, Kosovo, July 31 (Reuters) – The Kosovo government postponed implementation of a call that may oblige Serbs within the north of the nation to use for automobile license plates issued by Pristina establishments over tensions between police and native communities that set roadblocks.

Late on Sunday the protesters parked vehicles crammed with gravel and different heavy equipment on roads resulting in the 2 border crossings, Jarinje and Bernjak, in a territory the place Serbs kind a majority. Kosovo police stated they needed to shut the border crossings.

“The overall security situation in the Northern municipalities of Kosovo is tense,” NATO-led mission to Kosovo KFOR stated in an announcement.

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In Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blamed the heightened pressure on what she referred to as “groundless discriminatory rules” imposed by Kosovo authorities

Fourteen years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, some 50,000 Serbs dwelling within the north use license plates and paperwork issued by Serbian authorities, refusing to acknowledge establishments underneath the capital, Pristina. Kosovo has been recognised as an impartial state by greater than 100 international locations however not by Serbia or Russia.

The government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti stated it could give Serbs a transitional interval of 60 days to get Kosovo license plates, a 12 months after giving up attempting to impose them as a consequence of related protests.

The government additionally determined that as of Aug. 1, all residents from Serbia visiting Kosovo must get an additional doc on the border to grant them permission to enter.

The same rule is utilized by Belgrade authorities to Kosovars who go to Serbia.

But following tensions on Sunday night and consultations with EU and U.S. ambassadors, the government stated it could delay its plan for one month, and begin implementation on Sept. 1.

Earlier on Sunday, police stated there have been pictures fired “in the direction of police units but fortunately no one was wounded”.

It additionally stated indignant protesters beat up a number of Albanians passing on the roads that had been blocked and that some automobiles had been attacked.

Air raid sirens have been heard for greater than three hours within the small city of North Mitrovica inhabited primarily by Serbs.

A 12 months in the past, after native Serbs blocked the identical roads over license plates, Kosovo’s government deployed particular police forces and Belgrade flew fighter jets near the border.

Tensions between the 2 international locations stay excessive and Kosovo’s fragile peace is maintained by a NATO mission which has 3,770 troops on the bottom. Italian peacekeepers have been seen in and round Mitrovica on Sunday.

The two international locations dedicated in 2013 to a dialogue sponsored by the European Union to attempt to resolve excellent points however little progress has been made.

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Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Philippa Fletcher, Ron Popeski, Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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