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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Dozens wounded as Serbs, Kosovo police clash

Gazimestan is a field just outside Pristina, where Serbs mark St. Vitus Day and the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, when an Orthodox Christian Serb force led by Tsar Lazar lost a decisive battle to invading Muslim Ottoman Turks.
Ivica Dacic, Serbia's prime minister-designate, said the incident was damaging for peace and stability in Kosovo.
"International troops there have an obligation to preserve peace and security ... All future talks (with Kosovo) must be based on the preservation of security," Dacic told reporters in Belgrade.
In Gazimestan, where the ceremony took place, police searched buses and seized nationalist paraphernalia from visiting Serbs.
Gazimestan is also the place where on June 28 1989 late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic addressed hundreds of thousands of Serbs in a speech that heralded the bloody collapse of communist six-republic Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Violence between Albanians, Serbs and international peacekeepers flared last year, after Pristina attempted to establish its authority in the northern, predominantly Serb part of the country which still pledges allegiance to Belgrade.
Independent Kosovo has been recognised by more than 90 countries, including the United States and 22 of the European Union's 27 member states. However, Russia and China as well as Serbia itself have refused to recognise it.
(Additional reporting by Branislav Krstic in Mitrovica; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Andrew Osborn)

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