Europe

Nato sends more troops to Kosovo after border unrest

Kfor troops from Slovenia stand on the road in the village of Rudare near the town of Zvecan, Kosovo - 2 August 2011
Image caption Nato's Kfor has about 6,000 troops in Kosovo

Nato is sending hundreds of extra troops to Kosovo amid rising tension in the north along its border with Serbia.

The military alliance said the situation had not deteriorated but that reinforcements were needed to relieve troops currently patrolling the north.

Soldiers from Nato's Kosovo Force were deployed after clashes broke out between Kosovo police and ethnic Serbs.

The trouble began when the Kosovan government sent ethnic Albanian police to enforce a ban on Serbian imports.

A border post was torched and demolished and a Kosovo policeman killed after Serbian nationalists reacted angrily to their presence.

Previously, the border posts had been guarded by ethnic Serb police, whom the government in Pristina suspected of turning a blind eye to the ban on imports from Serbia.

The ban was imposed in response to Belgrade's effective bar on imports from Kosovo, imposed when it unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia refuses to admit any goods with a "Republic of Kosovo" customs stamp.

Kosovo's 60,000 ethnic Serbs reject Kosovo's independence from Serbia.

Serbia itself has also refused to recognise its former territory's independence.

More than 70 countries have recognised Kosovo's independence, but an even greater number of countries have withheld recognition.

Troops from Kosovo Force (Kfor) stepped in to guard the border after last week's unrest.

The Reuters news agency said 600 German and 100 Austrian troops from Kfor's reserve battalion would be deployed to relieve those already in the area. Kfor has about 6,000 soldiers in Kosovo.

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