Ethnic Serbs blockade NATO troops in north Kosovo

July 29, 2011 12:24


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PRISTINA/BELGRADE - Ethnic Serbs from Kosovo's north said on Friday they had blockaded NATO troops who took control of border posts with Serbia this week to halt violence provoked by a customs dispute with Belgrade.

NATO said it was negotiating with the ethnic Serbs to get the roadblocks removed as it tries to ease tensions over the row between Kosovo, which is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, and Serbia which refuses to recognize independence of its former province.

Trouble flared when Kosovo sent ethnic Albanian special police units on Monday to the border posts, which had been staffed mostly by ethnic Serbs, to enforce a ban on imports from Serbia. Pristina imposed the ban to retaliate against Belgrade's block on Kosovan exports in a dispute over customs regulations.

NATO then sent peacekeepers to quell three days of violence in the Serb-populated north in which one ethnic Albanian policeman was shot dead and hard-line Serbian nationalists set fire to one of the northern border crossings.

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