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Tadic Seeks To Defuse Kosovo Crisis

Kosovo Force (KFOR) Major General Erhard Drews of Germany stands along the barricades in front of a Serbian flag at the closed Serbia-Kosovo border crossing of Brnjak, on October 19.
Serbian President Boris Tadic has met with local Serb leaders from northern Kosovo in a bid to defuse a crisis with Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership.

Tadic asked the mayors of four northern Kosovo towns to allow the free movement of NATO peacekeepers in the region, KFOR.

However, the local officials refused to agree.

Serbs in northern Kosovo have been blocking roads leading into northern Kosovo since July.

It's part of a protest over plans by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership to take control of border crossings in the north.

Northern Kosovo is populated mainly by ethnic Serbs who do not recognize Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in 2008.

On October 22, KFOR troops tried to dismantle some of the barriers, but abandoned the task after Serbs manning the barricades refused to disperse.

The same day, KFOR commander General Erhard Drews and Xavier de Marnhac, the head of the EU's rule of law mission EULEX, held talks with the four mayors but failed to make progress.

compiled from agency reports

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