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Serbs defy NATO deadline

Serbs in northern Kosovo have defied a deadline set by NATO to remove illegal barricades in towns on the border to Serbia.

Hundreds of Serbs gathered to protect the roadblocks from KFOR peacekeeping troops.

"I am disappointed with this outcome," NATO's top commander in Kosovo, Maj. Gen. Erhard Drews, said in a statement. "The north did not comply with the request to remove the roadblocks."

Serb politicians stressed, no action will be taken before a high level meeting to discuss a solution to the ongoing dispute on Wednesday.

Drews said that NATO will await the outcome of this meeting, before deciding on how to proceed, adding that KFOR troops are ready to take more serious action.

"KFOR is ready and resolved to take action on behalf of freedom of movement, if the municipality meeting on Wednesday does not have satisfactory results," Drews said. "Our focus is on enabling civilians to lead normal lives."

There have been sporadic clashes in the area since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a move Serbia rejected.

Meanwhile, Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said on Sunday that the border should be redrawn and parts of Kosovo handed back to Serbia, if the dispute is to be resolved peacefully.

Around 40,000 Serbs inhabit the disputed region in northern Kosovo where they continue to reject the authority of the Kosovar state.

Related posts:

Serbs erect new barricade as tensions simmer (01 Oct)

Kosovo key to Serbia EU membership (13 Oct)

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