N Kosovo heats up with ‘truck crisis’

High tensions reached a new level at the Kosovo-Serbia border after Serbian authorities refused to allow three trucks carrying cement from Kosovo to enter Serbia despite the reopening of one of the two contentious border crossings.

Trucks from Kosovo carrying cement were allowed to enter Serbia but then “ordered by Serbian authorities to leave,” said Kosovo’s trade minister, Mimoza Kusari-Lila. The incident could lead Pristina to renew a trade ban slapped on Serbia in June and lifted Friday, the minister added, according to Agence France-Presse.

“The situation is calm but tense,” Burbuce Rusiti, Kosovo correspondent for the private Turkish news channel NTV, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Wednesday. “The Serbian side demands to bring the issue of border posts to the negotiating table. They sent a kind of letter of intent to the EU regarding this issue but they are against a situation where only ethnic Albanian officials control the posts,” Rusiti said. Kosovo customs spokesman Adriatik Stavileci said the trucks were turned back because their customs declaration “issued by Kosovo authorities was declared unacceptable.”

> Map Serbia & Kosovo
‘Pristina may take the same action’

“The Kosovo side would take the same action they Serbs did if they continue to block trucks and violate the agreement,” Rusiti said. “We cannot continue the implementation of the agreement unilaterally. We cannot wait too long,” said trade minister Kusari-Lila. On Monday, one truck with goods from Kosovo entered Serbia while 43 trucks from Serbia were let into Kosovo at two other border crossings.

A spokesman for the EU mission in Kosovo meanwhile said authorities have reopened one of the two contested border crossings, the Associated Press reported. Pristina and Belgrade agreed in early September to allow goods to freely move across the border. Under the agreement, Serbia will let in goods stamped with a new customs seal that simply says “Kosovo Customs.”
The Hürriyet Daily News