NATO sends reserve force for Kosovo as tension grows at border with Serbia

Serb protesters briefly stopped NATO’s top commander on Tuesday night as he tried to ease tensions in Kosovo after a week of violence near the border with Serbia left one Kosovo police officer dead and brought peacekeepers under fire.

Serb protesters briefly stopped NATO’s top commander on Tuesday night as he tried to ease tensions in Kosovo after a week of violence near the border with Serbia left one Kosovo police officer dead and brought peacekeepers under fire.

NATO said Maj. Gen. Erhard Buehler “was stopped at a roadblock” by the protesters on his way to meet Serbia’s top Kosovo officials: Borislav Stefanovic and Goran Bogdanovic, the alliance said. Buehler’s goal is to negotiate the removal of roadblocks in the tense Serb-run north.

Associated Press Television News video showed Stefanovic and Bogdanovic asking local Serbs to clear the way for Buehler and his convoy of three military vehicles to pass.

“I ask you to allow us to pass together,” Stefanovic told Serb protesters. About 40 Serbs stopped the convoy and blocked the road with trucks.

Buehler was accompanied by Stefanovic and Bogdanovic as the crowd then split in half, clapping and chanting “Serbia, Serbia” as the officials passed.

NATO later said Buehler the opening of the road “was a pre-condition for the informal exchange of views” between them.