K. Serbs in warning over license plates
|17 January 2011 | 18:58 | Source: Beta, Tanjug|
|KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- The head of the Kosovska Mitrovica District and president of Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo met on Monday in Kosovska Mitrovica.|
In a joint statement issued today, Radenko Nedeljković, the district chief, and municipal presidents of Kosovska Mitrovica, Zvečan, Zubin Potok and Leposavić pointed out that they demanded from KPS members to stay within their line of duty and stop implementing political decisions by the provisional Kosovo institutions.
The goal of unilateral decisions by Priština is raising tensions and changing the situation in the field, it was underlined in the release.
The Serb officials requested from the KPS to stop taking away license plates issued by Serbia's Interior Ministry (MUP) and to withdraw the decision to suspend the commander of the Zvečan police station, Nenad Đurić, who a few days ago opposed the implementation of the regulation introduced by Kosovo Albanian Interior Minister Bajram Redzepi.
The regulation prohibits movement of vehicles with the new license plates which have the first letters of Kosovo towns inscribed on them and have been issued by MUP since the beginning of the year.
The Serb officials expect the international community to remain status-neutral and deny support to illegal and illegitimate decisions of the interim Kosovo institutions, since, as they say, that may destabilize the north of Kosovo. The mayors from northern Kosovo and head of the Kosovska Mitrovica District backed the idea of finding a solution through peaceful means and dialogue, and stressed that they would not allow violence or imposition of any solutions which the Serb people in the north did not accept.
Meanwhile, State Secretary with the Ministry for Kosovo Oliver Ivanović said that he believed it was the EU mission in the province, EULEX, that should annul the controversial decision.
He told Kontakt Plus Radio that he expected EULEX "to place the decision out of force, or to pressure Minister Redzepi into withdrawing the move".
"The decision to ban Serbian license plates is illegal and as such impossible to implement, unless someone is looking to provoke incidents in northern Kosovo," said Ivanović, and warned that this could lead to "numerous problems", noting that the Serb community in the north "consider themselves members of the state of Serbia".
"It is only logical that they, in this context, adopt documents but also license plates of the Republic of Serbia," he was further quoted as saying.
Ivanović also stated that ethic Albanians were making unilateral moves, making the situation in Kosovo "more difficult and politically burdened".
Earlier today, regional spokesman for the KPS Besim Hoti said this formation was continuing to enforce the new regulation on vehicle registration plates and seizing new Serbian plates that denote Kosovo cities.
This afternoon, Bajram Redzepi spoke for KiM radio to say that Kosovo Albanian authorities at administrative boundary crossings have started issuing "test license" plates for vehicles registered with new plates issued by the Serbian Interior Ministry (MUP) that denote Kosovo municipalities.
According to reports, Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija will have to check in with authorities at administrative line and extend their test plates every five days. On Friday, Priština started issuing the plates for vehicles whose owners registered their cars with the Serbian MUP, "since this is the only way to avoid financial penalties, seizure of licenses and court proceedings", reports Tanjug.
Redzepi confirmed the news about the test-plates in an interview for the radio station, and added that "for now, the plates cannot be taken over at police stations", and did not specify where and how persons not traveling to administrative checkpoints can get their plates.
"Issuing of test-plates started on Friday, and they can be obtained at border crossings, where car owners are required to leave their plates issued by the Serbian MUP," Redzepi was quoted as saying.
Kosovo Albanian Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was also heard saying that it would be "better for Serbs to drive cars without any plates than to drive those with plates issued by the Serbian MUP".