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article imageSerbia warns Kosovo against 'undermining' regional stability

By AFP     Nov 11, 2018 in World

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Sunday accused Kosovo of "undermining regional cooperation and stability" by raising taxes on Serbian goods.

A dialogue between the two former foes is stalled for months and the latest Pristina move illustrates lasting tensions two decades since the Kosovo war.

The 1998-1999 conflict between Belgrade forces and pro-independence ethnic Albanians claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Kosovo's decision to raise taxes by 10 percent this week was "violating achieved agreements and undermining regional cooperation and stability," a statement from Vucic's office said.

It was issued after he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris on the sidelines of World War I commemoration services.

Pristina's move, a retaliation for Serbia's longtime diplomatic offensive to convince countries to revoke their recognition of Kosovo's independence, sparked criticisms also from the European Union.

Kosovo says its 2008 independence from Serbia is recognised by about 115 countries.

But Serbia claims it has managed to convince a dozen nations to revoke their decision.

Kosovo and Serbia are "miles from reaching an agreement," Vucic told Serbian reporters in Paris quoted by the state-run RTS television.

Vucic said he did not understand Pristina's decision to raise taxes.

With annual exports of 400 million euros ($454 million), Serbia is Kosovo's top regional trade partner

"When you are dealing with people who are doing this it is clear you should be afraid what they can do next.

"I'm horribly frightened for future since I don't know what these heads can do," Vucic said.

Another dispute between the two sides is Kosovo's decision to create its own army, which was confirmed to AFP by Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, who also said he met Merkel in France.

That decision has provoked anger from Kosovo's own ethnic Serb minority as well as from Serbia.

NATO, which leads a military force that ensures Kosovo's security, has also expressed serious reservations.

Serbia, and its main ally Russia, refuse to recognise independence of majority ethnic-Albanian Kosovo.

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