Serbs showed views about Kosovo, West says Kostunica

Other News Materials 22 February 2008 16:06 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said Friday, a day after violent protests left one person dead in the smouldering United States embassy, that Serbian people "showed what they think."

"In a magnificent gathering and a prayer, people of Serbia showed what they think of Kosovo and what they think of the brutal violence conducted against it," he said in a statement handed to local media.

He was referring to the support and recognition extended by the US and their Western allies to Kosovo, Serbia's province that has declared independence on Sunday.

"Most of all Serbia's youth has sent a message that Serbia is for law, justice and freedom and that it rejects the bullying policy of Western countries," Kostunica said.

He barely mentioned the riots targeting diplomatic missions of the US, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Croatia and Canada, as well as McDonald's restaurants and other businesses from the countries the mob regarded as hostile to Serbia.

"A big misfortune happened, a human life has been lost," Kostunica said.

"Our opposition to bullying must be in our interest ... violence and destruction directly damage our national interests," he said, estimating that "all supporters of the false state Kosovo are happy when they see violence in Belgrade."

The US government charged Thursday that Serbia failed to provide adequate security and said it would hold Serbian leaders "personally responsible" if Americans were harmed.

The United Nations Security Council sharply condemned the attacks "in the strongest terms" and reminded Serbia of the "fundamental principle of inviolability of diplomatic missions."

Also condemning the violence were the European Union in Brussels and the German government.

Serbian police provided no protection for the US and other embassies when the mob launched its attack, but appeared later to disperse it by using batons and teargas. Some 190 people were detained in connection with the riots.