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Serbian president appeals to stop violent protests
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Serbian President Boris Tadic appealed on Tuesday to the public to stop violent protests in the wake of the unilateral declaration of Kosovo independence, the official Tanjug news agency reported.


Only peaceful and reasonable conduct will enable Serbia to defend its Kosovo by arguments, Tadic said, adding that any violence undermines the arguments and is harmful to Serbia.


"There must be no violence or endangering of human lives in Serbia," he said.


Tadic said any hasty action will endanger the safety of the Serb community in Kosovo, urging people to refrain from any violent provocations so as to enable state institutions to do their job.


Protests, some turned into riots, broke out in Serbia and Northern Kosovo when Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci declared the independence of Kosovo at an extraordinary session of the Kosovo parliament on Sunday.


Kosovo Serb protesters destroyed two UN customs checkpoints on Tuesday and several vehicles on the border between Kosovo and central Serbia.


Protesters attacked the US and Slovenian embassies in Belgrade on Sunday, inflicting property destructions of the two embassies.


Kosovo was a southern autonomous province within Serbia before the breakup of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Among its population of 2 million, over 90 percent are ethnic Albanians and about 7 percent are Serbs.


The breakaway province has been run by the UN mission since NATO drove the Serbian troops out of it in 1999.


(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2008)

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