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Kosovo Serbs Start Removing Roadblocks


German KFOR soldiers remove barbed wire from the road in the village of Jagnjenica on December 5.
Serbs in Kosovo's north today started dismantling roadblocks that have caused clashes with NATO peacekeepers.

A local Serb leader, Slavisa Ristic, said the removal was part of an agreement with the NATO-led peacekeeping mission (KFOR) and would enable freedom of movement on the road leading to a disputed border crossing with Serbia.

KFOR, which was helping the operation by providing vehicles, hailed the move as "a step forward."

Dozens of people were injured last week, including NATO peacekeepers, when hundreds of Serbs resisted an attempt by NATO peacekeepers to remove roadblocks erected by Serbs to protest against a bid by the ethnic Albanian authorities to take over customs control at two posts -- Jarinje and Brnjak -- linking the Serb-dominated north of Kosovo with Serbia.

Both Serbia and Kosovo's Serbs have rejected the former Serbian province's proclaimed independence in 2008.

compiled from agency reports