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Serbia calls on OSCE to denounce Kosovo's unilateral decision

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The Serbian foreign minister called on the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to condemn Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence on Tuesday.
VIENNA, February 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Serbian foreign minister called on the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to condemn Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence on Tuesday.

Kosovo authorities unilaterally declared independence on February 17. The U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Turkey and Italy have so far recognized Kosovo, while Russia and Spain have condemned the move and refused to acknowledge the Serbian province.

"We are calling for the unilateral illegal declaration of independence by Pristina from the Republic of Serbia to be denounced," Vuk Jeremic said at an emergency session of the OSCE Permanent Council, which assembled on Serbia's initiative.

The minister said that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence poses "a serious threat to European security," and that OSCE's principles were "shaken down to the basics by this decision."

"Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia contradicts the UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolution 1244...," the minister said.

The resolution gave the UN the authority to administer Kosovo, which has been a UN protectorate since the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia ended a conflict between Albanian and Serb forces in 1999.

The minister also reiterated Belgrade's readiness to continue diplomatic talks with Pristina on the issue.

"At any time, at any place and by any means we are ready to begin talks with Pristina's authorities to reach a mutually acceptable solution on the future status of our southern province. But we cannot give them sovereignty," the minister said.

The news of Kosovo's declaration was met with street riots in Belgrade. Gangs of youths protesting against the secession of Kosovo fought running battles with riot police all night, with 47 people reported injured. Symbols of 'Americanism,' including two fast food restaurants, were also reported to have been attacked by protestors.

A hand grenade was thrown at a UN court building in the mainly Serb northern Kosovan town of Mitrovica on Sunday night as Albanians celebrated independence in the south of the town.

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