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US Envoy for Western Balkans visits Kosovo amid rising tensions with Serbia

The US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans has visited Pristina to meet with Kosovo leaders, a day after Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he would ask the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo to allow the deployment of 1,000 Serb troops in the Serb-populated north of Kosovo.

Kosovo, which used to be part of Serbia, fought a war against Belgrade in 1998-1999, and eventually declared independence in 2008, a move quickly endorsed by the US, the UK and most major European powers but rejected by the Serbs and their ally Russia.

For a third day on December 12, trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles blocked several main roads leading to two border crossings with Serbia. Both crossings were closed to traffic.

Authorities say it is impossible to cross the Jarinje and Bernjak border crossing points either on foot or by car.

The US embassies in Pristina and Belgrade said in a joint statement that Washington “expresses deep concern about the current situation in the north of Kosovo.”

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