ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo Rejects Serb Options On Customs Stamps

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By Petrit Collaku

Kosovo refuses to change its customs stamp in line with proposals recently outlined by Serbia.

Recent proposals circulating in Serbia to change the format of Kosovo’s custom stamp have been strongly rejected by Pristina.

The actual stamp reads “Kosovo Customs”, a formula which was changed from “UNMIK Customs” following the 2008 declaration of independence.

Kosovo
Kosovo

The options that were first published by Serb media, and then confirmed by Serb officials, suggested it should read “UNMIK Kosovo Customs” or “EULEX Kosovo Customs”.

Serbia’s head of talks with Pristina, Borislav Stefanovic, stated that Belgrade will accept customs stamps which are in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

The resolution 1244, adopted on June 10, 1999, authorised an international civil and military presence in Kosovo and established the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK.

“All other solutions which do not impinge upon the status of Kosovo are on the cards,” he told Belgrade-based news agency Tanjug.

Kosovo’s deputy Prime Minister, Mimoza Kusari-Lila, said that the options proposed for new stamps are not acceptable for Kosovo.

Kusari-Lila said that Kosovo has used stamps displaying the words “Kosovo Customs” since Kosovo declared independence in 2008.

“I don’t see why those stamps cause problems for Serbia. We have been using those stamps with other countries as well,” Kusari-Lila told Balkan Insight.

Tension began at the country’s northern border following a decision by the Kosovo government to enforce a ban on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This came in response to both countries refusing to recognise Kosovo’s customs stamps during a dialogue process in Brussels.

“Serbia is facing losses since the import ban was imposed on them on July 25 and wants to find ways to overcome this issue,” Kusari-Lila said.

She said that Serbia had not accepted Kosovo stamps and said this breached the CEFTA, an agreement aimed at ensuring tariff-free trade across the region.

In the meantime, she said that Kosovo stamps were being recognised by all other CEFTA member countries.

“So, we don’t see any other reason to offer a solution or new formats of the stamps,” she said.

Kosovo and Serbia are expected to meet at the beginning of September to continue the interrupted dialogue under EU mediation.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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