Border barricades to be dismantled today after stand-off between Kosovo and Serbia

Serbia’s president has announced that Serbs from Kosovo will begin to remove barricades and road blocks near some border crossings between the two countries on Thursday.

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo agreed on a compromise to defuse a tense 19-day stand-off a day after Serbia put its troops there on high alert.

"This is not a simple process, and can't be done in two hours, as some imagined,” Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday evening. “But within 24 to 48 hours the barricades will be removed.”

However, the Serbian President stressed that distrust had not been removed and he warned that tensions could rise again in the future if the “very existence of Serbs in Kosovo” is denied.

The announcement from Belgrade came as it was revealed a former Kosovo Serb policeman, Dejan Pantic, had been released from prison. His arrest on December 10 triggered the most recent escalation in tension in the region. The man’s lawyer said his client was now under house arrest.

The stand-off between Serbia and Kosovo provoked international concern and came after a simmering dispute over a Kosovo’s decision to ban Serbian licence plates.

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