Serbia warns it will protect Kosovo Serbs if NATO doesn’t
Published: Aug 22, 2022 08:17 PM
Serbia will use the upcoming 10 days to search for new compromise solutions in a row with Kosovo over car license plates and travel documents in northern Kosovo, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday.

Vucic, who spoke to the public for the first time after a failed EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue in Brussels, also warned that Serbia will protect its people from persecution if the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) doesn't.

"NATO's obligation is to protect Serbian people in Kosovo... to stop Kosovo police from crossing the Ibar River," Vucic said, accusing Pristina of destabilizing the situation by using any opportunity to send Kosovo police into Serbian neighborhoods. "We will protect our people from persecution and pogrom if NATO will not help." 

He warned that the real intention of the Pristina authorities is to persecute the remaining Serbian population and cancel what remains of Serbian statehood in Kosovo. He noted that during last week's negotiation in Brussels, "...all our constructive proposals got rejected [by Pristina] in an almost hysterical manner."

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia rejects it and considers Kosovo its own province.

Tensions were revived in recent weeks in northern Kosovo due to Pristina's announcement that it would ban Serbian car license plates and travel documents on its territory. On July 31, ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo blocked roads and erected barricades to protest Kosovo's decision obliging them to use vehicle license plates issued in Pristina. Kosovo later agreed to continue to recognize Serbian-issued license plates and documents until the end of August.