MITROVICA - Hundreds of Kosovar Albanians blocked access to a village due to be visited by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic Sunday, an AFP journalist said, as a festering row over Kosovo independence clouds hopes that the war foes can normalise relations.

 Demonstrators used vehicles and tree trunks to create a barricade on the main road between Mitrovica, in the north of Kosovo, and the village of Banje, a Serbian enclave some 60 kilometres (40 miles) away.

"Vucic does not pass" and "Those who committed genocide against innocent civilians cannot pass" read messages on placards at the blockade, which according to Serbian state television RTS was one of five set up by protesters to cut off all road access to Banje.  Serbia refuses to recognise Kosovo, an Albanian-majority former southern province that broke away from the then Yugoslav republic in a bloody war in 1998-1999 and declared independence a decade later.

According to RTS, Vucic's route was blocked by former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the pro-independence guerrilla movement that fought Serb armed forces in the conflict.