Kosovo's state telecom company said on Saturday it has stopped using Serbia's country code for landline phone calls, and instead will use its own new code. The move comes two years after Serbia, which does not recognize the independence of its former province, agreed to allow Pristina to have its own international telephone code.
"From March 24th the +381 code cannot be used. Now you have to use +383 code. Please inform your associates and friends," Kosovo Telecom said in an SMS message to its clients.
The landlocked Balkan country, which declared independence in 2008, has been using the codes of Serbia, Monaco (+377) and Slovenia (+386). Mobile operators will also change codes in the coming months.
The European Union has made Serbia committing to stable relations with Kosovo a prerequisite for membership of the bloc, and the country's presidents, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, met in Brussels last Thursday for a fresh round of EU-sponsored talks. But Belgrade continues to refuse to recognize Pristina institutions and has attempted to prevent Kosovo from joining international organizations, including sports associations. Kosovo declared independence almost a decade after a NATO bombing campaign ended a crackdown by Serbian authorities against secessionists among its majority ethnic Albanian population.