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Serbia calls for peaceful solution of Kosovo border clashes

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Belgrade “will not go to war” in response to Kosovo attempts to seize border checkpoints and will use only diplomatic means to resolve the conflict, Serbian President Boris Tadic said.

Belgrade “will not go to war” in response to Kosovo attempts to seize border checkpoints and will use only diplomatic means to resolve the conflict, Serbian President Boris Tadic said.

Kosovo sent special police forces to its Serbian-populated north on Monday to enforce a ban on imports from Serbia, but local Serbs opposed the move. Several police and Serbian residents were reportedly injured in clashes and NATO peacekeepers have been deployed to the area to deal with any further violence.

“I call on everyone to keep calm and not to respond to provocations,” Tadic was quoted by the government press service late on Tuesday.

“We must continue the dialogue and restore peace [in the region]. Securing peace is the hardest, it is much easier to drown again in war and violence,” Tadic said.

After a series of talks between NATO’s KFOR Commander Erhard Buehler and Pristina officials, Kosovo special police withdrew around 13.00 local time (11.00 GMT) on Tuesday from the checkpoints where they had been deployed during the night.

However, Kosovar police attempted again to seize one of the border checkpoints two hours later.

Kosovar authorities earlier accused European Union's rule of law mission, known as EULEX, of failing to enforce the imports ban.

Kosovo, which unilaterally proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008, has been recognized by a total of 69 out of 192 UN member states.

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