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Temporary Serbia-Kosovo border agreement to take effect, deescalating security dilemma

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Temporary Serbia-Kosovo border agreement to take effect, deescalating security dilemma

Bojan Slavkovic AP
Photo: Bojan Slavkovic/AP

A temporary agreement to ease the tensions at the border between Serbia and Kosovo will take effect today.

Tensions between the Balkan neighbors have been rising since the summer but came to a head in September when Kosovo demanded that all Serbian cars crossing the border must buy temporary license plates. In response, Kosovo’s ethnic Serbian population blocked the border in protest, prompting Kosovo to deploy special forces at two border crossings. Serbia then did the same, leading to a standoff.

Under today’s agreement the special forces on both sides of the border will be replaced with NATO peacekeepers for two weeks to ensure safety and freedom of movement. Additionally, drivers entering Kosovo will cover their license plates with temporary stickers instead of a full replacement plate.

This agreement marks an important resolution to a low-point in relations between Serbia and its former province Kosovo—which unilaterally declared independence in 2008. While this agreement is a positive ending to the crisis and has been hailed by EU and NATO leaders, overall relations are unlikely to improve soon. Given continued border disputes and trade arguments, relations between the two will likely remain frosty for the foreseeable future.

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Photo: Wikipedia / CC

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