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Serbia threatens diplomatic rift over Kosovo

 Serbia threatens diplomatic rift over Kosovo
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Serbia has threatened to sever diplomatic ties with Europe and the United States in the escalating row over Kosovo. Last night parliament in Belgrade agreed to reject membership of the European Union and NATO if its breakaway province wins international recognition as an independent state.

Led by President Boris Tadic in their attempt to block independence, MPs voted overwhelmingly to shun any treaty which does not acknowledge Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo. The province’s Albanian majority is preparing to declare unilateral independence in the New Year. The two main parties have reached agreement on a coalition government.

Belgrade has ruled out military action to enforce its claims on Kosovo, but is concerned about the safety of ethnic Serbs living there. Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic has demanded NATO soldiers protect them, and warned that the Serbian army is ready to move in if necessary.