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Kosovo Serbs to cut ties with UN

Serbs in northern Kosovo say they will cut ties with the UN and provincial authorities because of a series of attacks against them. Officials in four towns have declared a "state of emergency" in response to violence they blame on ethnic Albanian.

Attacks in recent days left one Serb man dead and two others injured. But following an investigation, the UN said they were not ethnically motivated. Kosovo, part of Serbia, is calling for independence - a move Serbia rejects.

Leaders in the town of Zvecan, representing some 50,000 Kosovo Serbs, said their declaration was in response to recent shootings.

"All contacts with Kosovo institutions, in particular with UNMIK (UN Mission in Kosovo), are now being cut off, until those who have committed numerous crimes against the Serbs are caught," they said.

They have also urged Serbs working for Kosovo institutions such as education and health, not to take their salaries from those bodies, but directly from Belgrade.

Tensions

UN officials say the rate of ethnically motivated crime has dropped in the past six months, but Serb groups dispute this.

Tensions remain high between Kosovo's ethnic Albanians - who represent 90% of the population - and the Serb minority.

The UN-administered province is involved in UN-brokered talks to decide its future status.

Kosovo Albanians want independence, but this is strongly opposed by Serbia and Kosovo's ethnic Serbs.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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