Friday, February 09, 2007

10,000 Kosovo Serbs protest U.N. plan

About 10,000 Serbs in Kosovo province protested Friday against a U.N. plan that might make ethnic-Albanians independent of Belgrade, media said.
In the biggest protest rally since 1999 in the ethnically-divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, angry Serbs shouted they will never give Kosovo away, the Serbian news agency Beta reported.

Milan Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb leader, threatened if Serbia's mainly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo province is given independence from Belgrade, then Serbs will have the right for self-determination.

Ivanovic told the rally Kosovo Serbs will travel to Belgrade Feb. 27 to stage a protest meeting in front of the U.S. embassy and demand Kosovo remain an integral part of Serbia.

The rally in Kosovska Mitrovica ended without incident. The Serbian government in Belgrade, representing 100,000 Serbs living in Kosovo, says it will never accept Kosovo's independence, while leaders of ethnic-Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's 1.8 million population, insist on independence.

Kosovo has been U.N.-administered since 1999, when NATO air bombardments forced Serbian security forces out of the province. Since, NATO troops have been deployed in Kosovo to curb ethnic conflicts.

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