Serbia's President asks Kosovo Serbs to end protests
The Serbian President ensured protestors that they will not be prosecuted or arrested after ending the barricade.
Serbia's Director of the Office for Kosovo Petar Petkovic stated on Wednesday that President Aleksandar Vucic called on Serbs living in Kosovo to terminate protests.
Serbs in Kosovo's northern part are blocking roads using barricades to protest the arrest of former police officer Dejan Pantic.
In mid-November, the ex-policeman quit his post along with other ethnic Serbs who work as law enforcers in Kosovo. He was arrested earlier on Saturday at the Jarinje border crossing.
The Serbian President also reassured protestors that they will not be "prosecuted or arrested" after receiving guarantees from the EU and the US.
Explainer: The Kosovo-Serbia tension
The dispute alarmed the European Union, which has been mediating between the two parties and trying to normalize ties between them.
"We have received guarantees from the United States and European Union that none of the Serbs in Kosovo who participated in protests and who took part in barricades will be prosecuted or arrested," said Petkovic.
"We also received guarantees that Kosovo Security Forces will not come to Serb majority north of Kosovo without consent of KFOR commander and representatives of the local population," Petkovic added.
Serb representatives from Kosovo will meet Vucic on Wednesday evening near the border with Kosovo and decide whether the barricade will be lifted, Petkovic stated.
Earlier on Monday, senior Serbian officials said that the country placed its security forces on the border with Kosovo in a “full state of combat readiness”.
Serbia's Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic said he “ordered the full combat readiness” of police and other security units, adding that they will be placed under the army chief of staff's command according to “their operational plan”.
On December 10, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia will send the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) mission command a formal request for authorization to deploy Serbian military and police in Kosovo, despite the likeliness of being rejected.
Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia rose after the Kosovo Government demanded local Serbs to re-register their car plates, demanding that they feature the EU-standard letter code of RKS instead of KM, the Serbian identifier for the disputed region of Kosovska Mitrovica on the border, with past October 31 as the deadline for the re-registration.
Serbs in northern Kosovo resigned from public institutions in protest over the row on vehicle number plates.
However, the main reason for the tension is the 2008 declaration of independence of Kosovo which Serbia does not recognize and encourages the Serb minority to remain loyal to Belgrade.