NATO troops are still garrisoned at two flashpoint crossings between Kosovo and Serbia. They have been there since a tit-for-tat customs dispute in July descended into violence.
The Serbian community is opposed to plans to staff the border with EU and ethnic Albanian officials as per EU sponsored talks. They say it reinforces Pristina’s 2008 secession, which Belgrade rejects.
Ethnicity is certainly an issue, but is this also about money?
“The only way out, as I said, is to have a chance to sit, to find a solution. We have our concrete proposals on how Gate One and 31 should look, who would the job. These proposals do not include any presence of Kosovo customs officers, but they fully regulate the future regime on those gates and the collection of the revenue.” said Borislav Stefanovic, Serbia’s most senior diplomat in the region.
As the nearest town and main regional centre, Mitrovica is being drawn into the unrest. There were more clashes last night, at the bridge over the Ibar river dividing the Serb north from the Albanian south.