Serbs stop NATO removing roadblocks in north Kosovo

Kosovo Serb women sit on the barricades in the village of Zupce near the town of Zubin Potok, October 21, 2011

From Branislav Krstic, Reuters:  Hundreds of Kosovo Serbs prevented NATO troops in Kosovo (KFOR) from removing roadblocks on roads to two contested border crossings between the country’s volatile north and Serbia early on Saturday, witnesses said. . . .

At a roadblock in the village of Zupce, about 80 km (40 miles) north of Kosovo’s capital Pristina, Serbs sat in the road in front of armored personnel carriers and an infantry cordon.

In the nearby village of Jagnjenica, Serbs parked trucks across the road to the Brnjak crossing, reinforcing a barricade there. KFOR troops tried and failed to get a bulldozer past meters-high earth and gravel barricades, a human shield and the trucks.

On Friday, KFOR commander, German General Erhard Drews said Kosovan Serbs must secure freedom of movement for his troops and other international missions. He said more talks were planned with local Serbs for Saturday and warned NATO was running out of patience.

"I still believe that the better solution would be a peaceful one but … there’s little hope we will come to the solution in time," he told reporters. "Time is running out."

Earlier this week KFOR used tear gas to disperse Serbs at a barricade along a network of roads leading to the Brnjak border post. Eight peacekeepers and about two dozen civilians were slightly injured in the scuffles.  (photo: Reuters)

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