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Serbian president calls for unity in face of Kosovo independence

Serbian President Boris Tadic Tuesday called on political leaders and officials in the country to take united and responsible action as the country moves ever closer toward Kosovo independence.

“The state must act in unity and with responsibility when its sovereignty and territorial integrity are at stake. It is only within the European Union that can defend its Kosovo,” Tadic said in a press release. “Serbia is a European and democratic country, which does not constitute a threat to anyone and which is defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity peacefully and with dignity,” he was quoted by the official Tanjug news agency as saying. The president urged political leaders in the country to put aside party differences and act with peace, seriousness and restraint in the face of a unilateral declaration of independence by the southern province of Kosovo.

The ruling coalition of Serbia was in crisis last week as its allies, Tadic’s Democrat Party (DS) and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) became embroiled in arow over the signing of a political agreement with the EU and the consequent EU mission in Kosovo. Pro-western Tadic was for signing while Kostunica was against, saying it was tantamount to consenting to the Kosovo status plan of former UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari. Tadic, Kostunica and Serbian parliament speaker Oliver Dulic reached an agreement Monday night declaring that it is necessary to have a single state and national policy to protect Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. (