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Kosovo-Serbia, Amb. De Riu: “Toning down needed, Pristina wise on postponing measures”

Italy supports the EU-backed dialogue for the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo and pushes for a moderation of tones and as well of acts on both sides. This was reiterated by the Italian Ambassador in Pristina, Mr. Antonello De Riu, in a statement to “Agenzia Nova” concerning the tensions occurred yesterday between the two countries, due to the entry into force, later postponed for a month, of two measures issued by the government of Pristina: on the registration of vehicles equipped with Serbian-issued license plates for cities in Kosovo and on the regulation of entry and stay in Kosovo for people with Serbian-issued IDs. 

Mr. De Riu underlined that Italy welcomes “the decision by Pristina to give Kosovo Serb citizens more time, in the understanding that the concerned measures, as also stressed by the EU Special Representative for Dialogue, Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, are fully legitimate according to the previous Brussels agreements”. Furthermore, the Italian Ambassador remarked that it is advisable that Kosovo Authorities “make every effort to clearly communicate to ethnic Serb citizens resident in the North the new procedures on entry and exit of persons and vehicles, ensuring an adequate time frame for their implementation”. At the same time, he continued, “it is our strong hope that Pristina and Belgrade will genuinely commit themselves to ensure the free movement of their respective citizens in line with the principles of the European Union, which both countries wish to join”.

Finally, the Head of Mission pointed out the need for a conciliatory message since in Kosovo “right these days, a message of peace is arriving through the ‘Sunny Hill Festival'”. The event, scheduled from 4 to 7 August, is promoted by Dua Lipa and the Italian singer Mahmood will also participate. The initiative sees “the support of the Italian Foreign Ministry Farnesina and its Embassy in Pristina, with thousands of young people arriving from Balkan countries and from the rest of Europe”, concluded De Riu.