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U.S. says its embassy in Serbia still open despite tension over Kosovo
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11:27, February 20, 2008

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The U.S. State Department said Tuesday that the U.S. embassy in Serbia is still open and running despite the withdrawal of Serbia's ambassador to the country following the U.S. recognition of Kosovo's independence.

"I also understand that our embassy is up and running today. It's closed to the public, but our embassy is doing the work -- and we're actually working very closely with the Serbian government on issues related to security," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

"They're doing a fine job in helping to provide security for our embassy."

Serbia ordered its ambassador to leave Washington Monday in protest against the U.S. recognition of the independence of Kosovo.

McCormack also urged all populations in Serbia and Kosovo to turn away from violence after Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia last Sunday.

According to media reports, violence has been reported at the crossing points of Banja and Jarinje since Sunday, prompting NATO peacekeepers to intervene for the first time since Kosovo's independence.

Meanwhile, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic rejected the independence of Kosovo, criticizing the act as illegal and a violation of Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Addressing an emergency meeting of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Jeremic said Kosovo's declaration of independence posed a serious threat to the security in Europe and infringed the basic principles of the OSCE.

He called on OSCE members to condemn Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence.

Kosovo, the breakaway province of Serbia, has been under UN administration since 1999.

Source: Xinhua

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