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UN envoy urges all parties to Kosovo, Serbia refrain from unilateral action

(Xinhua)

10:34, August 31, 2011

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The head of the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) Farid Zarid on Tuesday urged all parties to Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from any unilateral action to prevent an escalation of existing tensions.

The statement came as Zarid, acting special representative of the secretary-general and head of UNMIK, briefed the Security Council in an open door meeting.

With the "most serious security incidents" since the violence in 2008 occurring in July on Kosovo's northern border with Serbia, Zarid said they "serve as a stark reminder that the issues underlying these incidents remain unresolved and constitute a serious threat to Kosovo's peace and stability".

"It remains essential that all sides refrain from any unilateral action, which could escalate existing tensions," Zarid said.

To avoid any further deterioration of the situation, Zarid said that the leadership in both Pristina and Belgrade have a responsibility in resolving disputes through dialogue rather than unilateral action.

"There is a pressing need for leaders on both sides to speak the language of peaceful co-existence and reconciliation and to accompany their words with concrete actions," Zarid urged.

Ethnic Serbs attacked and set fire to a security post on Kosovo 's northern border with Serbia in July. The attack followed an incident where Kosovo leader Hashim Thaci sent police to take over two disputed border crossings.

Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina has been taking place to try and negotiate solutions to problems still plaguing the relations between the two sides. Kosovo became separate from Serbia in 1999 and declared its own independence in 2008. The two remain at odds over sovereignty and borders in North Kosovo where a significant ethnic Serb community remains and has resisted Pristina's rule.

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