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U.S. embassy to reopen consular section in Belgrade after riot damage
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09:03, April 01, 2008

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The consular section of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade will reopen to the public Tuesday, more than a month after the building was damaged in riots over the U.S. recognition of Kosovan independence, the embassy said in a statement Monday.

"Repairs have been completed to sections of the U.S. Embassy that were damaged by protestors on Feb. 21," said the statement.

Kosovo was a southern autonomous province within Serbia before the breakup of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The United States recognized Kosovo on Feb. 18, one day after Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence.

On Feb. 21, hundreds of Serbian protesters, who were angered by U.S. support for Kosovo independence, broke into the U.S. embassy in central Belgrade, smashing doors and windows while setting fire to a part of the building.

One protester was trapped in the fire and killed in the embassy building. The extensive damage forced the closure of the consular section for over a month, forcing visa applicants to travel to the U.S. embassy in Croatia and other U.S. embassies in the region for interviews.

The U.S. Department of State has also authorized the return of all family members and non-essential American staff who were ordered to depart Serbia on Feb. 22 in the wake of the riots, the statement said.


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