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08.01.2012. / Akademediasrbija

Serbian President Boris Tadic on Saturday stood firm on his refusal to recognise Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence after attending an Orthodox Christmas service in the territory. Asked when he would recognise Kosovo, Tadic replied: "You know what my answer is. Never. It is a very short end clear answer."

Tadic spoke to journalists as he left the Christmas mass at the 14th-century Serb Orthodox monastery of Visoki Decani in western Kosovo.

He said he wanted peace for all those in Kosovo, including "Serbs, Albanians and members of the international community."

Neither Kosovo Serbs nor Belgrade recognise Pristina's 2008 declaration of independence, accepted by most of the European Union and many other countries, considering Kosovo still to be a province of Serbia and the cradle of its nation and religion.

However, Serbia is engaged in talks with Pristina and has reached several agreements aimed at improving the lives of all inhabitants of Kosovo. Progress in the dialogue is a key condition for Belgrade to become a candidate to join the EU.

Security forces were on high alert throughout Kosovo for Tadic's overnight visit, with NATO-led peacekeepers guarding the grounds of the monastery -- a UNESCO World Heritage site -- and Kosovo police securing the surrounding area.

On Friday, some 200 activists of the hardline ethnic Albanian Self-Determination Movement, which opposes any contact with Serbia, protested in the small town near the monastery and briefly blocked the entrance to the grounds.

Serbian media reported that a car in the presidential motorcade was pelted with rocks, but local police could not confirm the reports.

"I will not react to that aggressive behaviour. Today is Christmas. The only message I can send is peace, even (if) to them that can be very aggressive," Tadic said when asked about the protest.

/AFP /

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