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Serbs Defy NATO, EU On Kosovo Roadblocks

A KFOR soldier from France walks along barricades at the closed Serbia-Kosovo border crossing of Brnjak on October 19.
Officials say ethnic Serbian leaders in northern Kosovo and NATO have failed to come to an agreement over barricades blocking access to sensitive border crossings.

A standoff between NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping troops and Kosovo Serbs is therefore likely to continue over the roadblocks barring access to the Jarinje and Brnjak crossing points between Serbia and Kosovo.

Slavisa Ristic, the Serbian mayor of Kosovska Mitrovica, said the Serbs offered to allow the supply convoys for KFOR troops to pass on condition they maintain the roadblocks and check the KFOR transports.

KFOR, however, insisted on freedom of movement for its troops and for the EU rule of law mission, EULEX.

There was no immediate reaction from KFOR but the force had already announced on October 18 that it was "ready and resolved to take action on behalf of freedom of movement" if the most recent meeting did not have the desired outcome.

Around 40,000 Serbs live in northern Kosovo, making up the majority in a number of towns.

compiled from agency reports

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