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Traffic across Merdare reestablished

11. May 2010. | 07:24 07:42

Source: EMGportal, Kosovo Comrpomise

The Kosovo minister demanded from EULEX and UNMIK to urgently provide freedom of movement for Serbs in the province and enable undisturbed communication and transportation between the Serb enclaves and central Serbia

 Traffic for buses and vans owned by Serbs resumed last night on the administrative line between southern central Serbia and Kosmet near Merdare, the state secretary in the Ministry for Kosmet, Oliver Ivanović, confirmed.

The reestablishment of traffic, which was stopped on Friday across Merdade, the only road for Serbs, ensued after the intervention of the Ministry for Kosmet. Ivanovic, however, does not believe that will last long, but that the traffic will be banned again, as that is, after the destruction of telephone transmitters of Serb operators in the Province, was just one of the way of pressure exerted on Kosmet Serbs.

He assessed the pressure had been conceived with a view of positioning pending major decisions. This time, it was the fault of EULEX, which, among other things, is in charge of protecting human rights in Kosmet, he said.

The owners of several Serbian private firms for transporting passengers from central Kosmet told Tanjug that Kosovo authorities had demanded of them, at the Merdare checkpoint, a work licence, registration of driving lines, vehicle certificates and other documents.

Traffic at the administrative line crossing with Kosovo, Merdare, for buses and vans owned by Serbs was resumed on Sunday evening after the Kosovo Albanian Transport and Telecommunications Ministry in Pristina blocked the traffic that morning.

Merdare is located between Kosovo and central Serbia.

Owners of several private companies for passenger transportation from central Kosovo told Tanjug that Kosovo authorities at Merdare border crossing request to see their work permits for 2010, registrations and certificates for the vehicles and obligatory contracts signed with companies from Serbia registration as final destinations.

Van operator from Caglavica Dusan Todic says that Serbs were deprived of freedom of movement after the phone networks were disabled in their areas, and that this was another form of pressure on the Serbian population and a message that they do not belong in Kosovo.

Todic explained that the van operators were requested to switch to bus transportation in order to stay in business, but that this was impossible.

"They're asking us to register firms and pay taxes. However, we're unable to register because we don't have the obligatory three buses," he pointed out.

Todic also added that they had so far been performing their work with the licenses issued by UNMIK and that he was told that he needed "licenses with a stamp of the republic of Kosovo" to keep working.

According to the rules of ministry in charge for the licenses in Pristina, departures from the Serb enclave of Gracanica will also be banned.

All vehicles will have to depart from the bus station in Pristina.

Kosovo Minister Goran Bogdanovic has condemned the cutting off the bus and van transportation between the Serbian enclaves and central Serbia over the Merdare administrative crossing.

The Kosovo minister demanded from EULEX and UNMIK to urgently provide freedom of movement for Serbs in the province and enable undisturbed communication and transportation between the Serb enclaves and central Serbia


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10. May - 16. May 2010.