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Kosovo Serbs To Allow NATO Troops Through Roadblocks

German KFOR troops patrol near the Serb-erected barricade in the village of Zupce on October 26.
Kosovo's Serbs have started a partial removal of roadblocks in the north of Kosovo.

Serbs have blocked roads for three months to stop Kosovo's Albanian leadership from extending its control over the north, an area populated mostly by ethnic Serbs.

Serbs said they started removing the blockade on October 27 so that NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers could supply their troops, but they plan to keep checkpoints to prevent the EU law-and-order mission from transporting Kosovar officials.

Mayors of four Serb-dominated municipalities in northern Kosovo announced in a statement "a plan that enables movement of KFOR troops through the territory of our municipalities" at a meeting with international representatives.

The plan "means freeing one lane on certain roads," the statement said.

Serbs in July blocked roads with rocks, mud, and logs after Kosovo Albanian authorities deployed their security forces to two border posts in the north to enforce a retaliatory trade ban with Serbia.

The move triggered clashes with Kosovo's police that left one policeman dead.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move bitterly opposed by Belgrade and local ethnic Serbs.

Northern Kosovo's 40,000 Serbs refuse to recognize the authority of the ethnic Albanian government in Pristina.

compiled from agency reports