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Serb army ready to protect Kosovo Serbs - President Tadic

RIA Novosti

26/12/2007 20:36 BELGRADE, December 26 (RIA Novosti) - Serbia's Army is ready to assist in protecting Kosovo Serbs if Kosovo peacekeepers fail to halt violence in the province, the president said on Wednesday.

"If matters in Kosovo reach a violent stage, and if the international KFOR peacekeeping force is unable to adequately protect Serbs, the Serb Army is ready at any time to provide assistance in protecting the population from danger, with the approval of international organizations and in line with international law," pro-western Boris Tadic said.

The country's parliament is debating a resolution proposed by the government outlining key areas for the administration's activities, including reviewing diplomatic relations with those countries that recognize Kosovo's independence.

The UN Security Council failed last Wednesday to bridge divisions over the future of Kosovo. The province's drive for independence has been backed by the West and firmly opposed by Serbia. The European Union and NATO assumed responsibility for determining Kosovo's status.

Tadic said Serbia would continue to protect its territorial integrity without giving up its European ambitions.

In his speech, Tadic referred to "Russia's support and initiatives," as well as a communique published after a recent meeting of foreign ministers from Greece, Romania and Bulgaria. The document reads that all possibilities for reaching a compromise have been exhausted.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pledged last Friday that the country would veto a United Nations resolution granting independence to Kosovo.

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