Gallery: Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti visits Estonia

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Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti discussed the situation in the Western Balkans, Russia's aggression in Ukraine and bilateral relations during a visit to Tallinn on Friday. He said tensions with Serbia over license plates are easing.

Kurti met with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform), Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) and the Riigiikogu's foreign affairs committee during the course of the day.

Kallas said Kosovo has Estonia's full support on its Euro-Atlantic journey adding that she supports a future visa liberalization scheme with the EU.

The prime minister said "close and good relations" are needed between the EU and Western Balkans in the current security situation.

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti visited Estonia on November 18, 2022. Source: Jürgen Randma

"The aggression of Russia concerns all of us. Its consequences go far beyond Ukraine. Countries in the Western Balkans are well aware of Russia's long-standing attempts to destabilize the region," Kallas said.

She also commended Kurti on Kosovo's strong support to Ukraine, which has seen the country adopt sanctions and host refugees. 

Additionally, Estonia has plenty of democracy-building experience to share with Kosovo, especially with e-governance and the rule of law, Kallas said. Estonian experts are helping to prepare the country's e-state strategy.

After the meeting, Kurti said both countries share a "similar historical past" and that they have "excellent relations". He thanked Kallas for her support.

Kurti: Tensions over Serbian license plates are easing

Albin Kurti. Source: Jürgen Randma

The tense situation in Kosovo over banning Serbian license plates is calming down even though they can still be found on approximately 9,000 vehicles, Kurti said during a press conference with Kallas.

Kurt said a solution is hindered by Serbia's unwillingness to have good relations with Kosovo.

"We are doing our best to maintain lawfulness and the constitutionality of our country on the one hand, and peace and security on the other. I am optimistic, but the approach of Belgrade has been quite obstructive and destructive. In the next few days, we shall see how successful we are in these new negotiations. We need [an] agreement with Serbia. A final agreement, legally binding, with mutual recognition at its core," Kurti said.

The Kosovan government's decision to introduce new rules, including replacing Serbian license plates with Kosovan ones, led to clashes earlier this year.

At the start of November, a law entered into effect forcing people in majority ethnic Serb areas to swap their Serbian-issued car number plates for Kosovan-issued ones.

Some 50,000 people living in majority Serb areas of the north use license plates issued by Serbian authorities and refuse to recognize Kosovan institutions, the BBC reported in August.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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