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Kosovo to tear down wall built by ethnic Serbs

Kosovo's parliament has voted to demolish a concrete wall erected by the Serb ethnic minority in the northern city of Mitrovica, which the government sees as a statement of defiance.

Serbs started to raise the wall earlier this month near a bridge on Ibar River, calling it a technical support barrier against a landslide.

The construction was vehemently contested by the Kosovo government.

The European Union and the United States also have opposed the wall at a time when Kosovo and Serbia are holding EU-brokered talks to reconcile their differences.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Belgrade has not recognised.

"I don't think that wall made a positive contribution to bringing people together," US ambassador to Pristina Greg Delawie said in an interview earlier this week.

Minister Edita Tahiri, who leads the Kosovo delegation at the talks, also reported that a grenade was thrown at a government office in northern Mitrovica on Wednesday night. She said the grenade did not explode.

Ms Tahiri said she had called a senior EU official asking for mediation and complaining of Serbia's "destructive actions with the use of bombs and walls".

She added: "Serbia's obstructions are being escalated and are endangering the destabilisation of the situation."

Mitrovica is home to the largest population of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo.

Kosovo's 1998-1999 war ended after Nato intervened on behalf of the Albanian majority to end the deportations and ethnic cleansing carried out under then-Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic.

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