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EU attempts to ease tension between Serbia and Kosovo

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EU attempts to ease tension between Serbia and Kosovo
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Serbia and Kosovo are both being urged to act calmly after an attack at a border post in Kosovo left one policeman with serious head injuries. Tensions remain between Serbia and its neighbour Kosovo, which unilaterally declared its independence in 2008. However, ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo refuse to acknowledge the breakaway state and the EU is trying to defuse the latest flare-up.

European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said: ‘‘We believe that for the solution of trade, dialogue is the right way forward. We believe that dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina can provide the appropriate solutions, so that the free trade in all directions can resume.”

Unrest began when Kosovo forces tried to gain control of a border post in an ethnic Serb area on Monday night, resulting in the police officer’s shooting. The government in Pristina asked police to seize control of two border crossings with Serbia. They succeeded in taking control over one of two major road crossings, but local Serbs blocked the road from the second.

NATO peacekeeping patrols in the area have been increased.