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News 05 Apr 16

Kosovo Fails To Lift Blockade On Serbian Trucks

A blockade on Serbian trucks transporting 'dangerous' materials into Kosovo remains intact despite a meeting in Vienna called by the European Union.

BIRN
Belgrade
Merdare border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo | Photo: Beta.

Delegations from Serbia and Kosovo meeting in Vienna on Monday failed to resolve a blockade on Serbian trucks that is costing Kosovo some 100,000 euros daily, according to customs officials.

"Difficult negotiations and efforts to reach an agreement... yielded no result despite the efforts of the EU," Kosovo's Ministry for Transport said following the meeting.

Delegations were led by Kosovo's chief negotiator, Edita Tahiti, and the chief of the Serbian government's office for Kosovo, Marko Djuric.

Since March 21, no Serbian vehicle transporting materials such as oil derivatives has been permitted to enter Kosovo.

While Kosovo has justified the blockade as a “reciprocal measure”, Serbian authorities say Kosovo has breached the terms of its CEFTA agreement and have taken the issue to Brussels.

But according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, since 15 October 2015 Kosovo companies were unable to transport the imported oil and gas through Serbia.

The passage of Serbian goods to Kosovo was interrupted earlier in March when opposition Vetevendosje party activists overturned a Serbian truck.

Vetevendosje activists seized the truck after it entered Kosovo at the Merdare crossing point and overturned it, causing some of its cargo to spill out.

The activists seized and overturned a second Serbian truck on March 11, also in protest against Serbia’s policies on Kosovo.

While the Kosovo government condemned the activists who overturned the trucks, problems with the border crossing escalated with the official blockade.

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