NATO oversees removal of roadblocks in Kosovo

STORY: NATO-led peacekeepers supervised the removal of roadblocks protesters had set up in north Kosovo, where political tensions have recently flared.

Gravel-filled trucks and tankers were removed on Monday from roads leading to a border crossing with Serbia.

This - after the Kosovo government postponed implementing a rule that would oblige ethnic Serbs, who are a majority in the north, to apply for documents and car license plates issued by Kosovan authorities.

The license plate directive had increased tension between Kosovo and Serbia, as well as Russia... neither of which recognize Kosovo as an independent state.

The government's decision to postpone the directive – by a month - followed consultations with U.S. and EU ambassadors.

But more dialogue is needed, said Peter Stano with the European Commission for Foreign Affairs.

"...All open issues between Serbia and Kosovo need to be addressed through the EU-facilitated dialogue. This is important for the people, both in Kosovo and Serbia, and this is important for the EU perspective of both countries."

Fourteen years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, some 50,000 ethnic Serbs in the north still use license plates and papers issued by Serbian authorities, refusing to recognize the Kosovan government.

Kosovo's fragile peace is maintained by NATO's KFOR mission, which has over 3,700 troops on the ground.

The mission issued a statement on Sunday saying it was prepared to intervene in line with its mandate if stability was jeopardized.

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