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Tensions rise in Kosovo border area

Tensions rise in Kosovo border area
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NATO peacekeeping troops pulled back on Monday after placing a checkpoint on a road in the Serb controlled part of northern Kosovo.

The mayor of Zupce met with officers and said they had agreed to leave shortly after.

Tensions flared last week after NATO troops reinstated Albanian customs officers and border police on two boundary crossings with Serbia. Serbs responded by erecting barricades.

“We came here to prevent KFOR (Kosovo Force) from doing this job. They are trying, by force, to install a state border where there isn’t one,” said Slavisa Ristic, Zupce Mayor.

Meanwhile, Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Bozidar Delic, was in Brussels on Monday to discuss future entry into the European Union. Serbia refuses to recognise an independent Kosovo.

Delic accused “the other side” of trying to take advantage. “Serbia cannot accept that, while we are talking, the other side, with the support of some in the international community, is trying to change the reality on the ground without any agreement, unilaterally and through force,” Delic said. “Maybe some people think that now Serbia is expecting good news on its candidate status and maybe the beginning of negotiations, maybe some are trying to take advantage of that situation,” he added.

Monday’s meeting in Brussels focused on the progress of reforms in Serbia. It came three weeks before the European Commission is due to give an opinion on the EU application.

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