NATO Urges Serbs to Unblock Roads in Kosovo
    2011-09-20 06:26:12     Xinhua       Web Editor: Fuyu
NATO-led peacekeeping force (KFOR) helicopters dropped hundreds of leaflets on Monday urging Serbian community to end blocking roads in northern part of Kosovo.

In a five sentence leaflet written in Cyrillic Serbian, KFOR warned citizens in barricades that blocking roads was against the law and therefore such a move "is not in line with peaceful demonstrations."

"Blocking roads represent danger for all in extraordinary situations, because there is no possibility to deliver help to those in need," stressed KFOR.

Confirming the air action, KFOR spokesman Ralph Adametz told Xinhua that leaflets were dropped at the barricades close to the crossing border points 1 and 31. He described the overall situation unchangeable, but underlined the need for opening blocked roads.

KFOR said the mission "recognizes the right for peaceful protests and demonstrations" but "blocking roads doesn't represent any accepted way for expressing your concerns."

The air campaign began hours after the head of EU Rule of law mission (EULEX), Xavier de Marnhac visited the two disputed crossings.

According to him, both Gates were technically ready to be fully operational, but the barricades that have been put up in nearby roads prevent the gates from opening.

De Marnhac called on the barricades to be removed. "This harms the people. We have made this move to improve the flow of goods and their (the peoples') ability to access them, and I think any step that's hindering that is just against the population," he said.

Trouble in Serb-dominated northern part of Kosovo started on July 25 when Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci sent Special Police to gain control in two northern crossing border points with Serbia. Local Serbs reacted by barricading roads and in a fire exchange a member of Kosovo special police was killed.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008, but Serbia steadfastly refuses to recognize the secession of its southern province and is pursuing an official policy of dialogue to reach a consensus on outstanding issues between Pristina and Belgrade.
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