Serb Leaders Meet to Discuss Removing Kosovo Roadblocks

Posted October 19th, 2011 at 7:15 am (UTC-5)
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Leaders of four Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo are meeting to discuss whether to lift area roadblocks to allow NATO-led KFOR troops free movement in the region.

The roadblocks have guarded sensitive border crossings for nearly three months. NATO has threatened to dismantle them unless Wednesday's meeting brings positive results.

The barricades are stopping NATO convoys from getting through to supply peacekeepers. NATO is demanding unconditional and permanent access to the border, saying its peacekeeping mission in Kosovo is preserving freedom of movement for people and communities.

About 40,000 Serbs live in northern Kosovo, making up the majority in a number of towns. They refuse to recognize the authority of the government in Pristina, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. An attempt by Kosovo police to take down the barricades in July erupted in violence, resulting in the death of an ethnic-Albanian police officer.

Belgrade has urged Kosovo Serbs to find a compromise to the crisis, after the European made it clear Serbia cannot get candidacy status this year unless the situation in Kosovo improves.