Europe

Kosovo Serbs begin dismantling road blockades

K-For troops pass a blockade in the village of Zupce near the border between Kosovo and Serbia.
Image caption Nato-led forces will patrol the crossings between Serbia and Kosovo

Serbs in northern Kosovo have begun dismantling roadblocks set up amid increased tensions over two border crossings between Serbia and Kosovo.

Last month Kosovo's mainly ethnic Albanian government sent paramilitary police to seize the two crossings.

After a two-week stand-off with Nato-led peacekeepers, a deal has now been reached to allow Nato to control the border crossings.

The dispute was caused by a trade ban between Serbia and Kosovo.

The government in Pristina had sent security forces to the crossing points at Jarinje and Brnjak to enforce a ban on Serbian imports, to which Serbs responded by blocking roads.

An ethnic Albanian policeman was killed and four people were injured in clashes with Serbian nationalists.

The trade ban was imposed in response to Belgrade's effective bar on imports from Kosovo since its declaration of independence.

Nato deployed hundreds of extra troops from its Kosovo Force (K-For) to guard the border.

The Nato-brokered deal states that K-For will patrol the disputed crossings, in return for Serbs in Kosovo dismantling the roadblocks.

Serbia has refused to accept recognise Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence.

The unilateral declaration has now been recognised by more than 70 countries, despite strong opposition from Belgrade.

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