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Serbian President Campaigns in Kosovo Ahead of Sunday Vote


Serbian President Boris Tadic, on a campaign visit to Kosovo ahead of Sunday's second round of presidential elections, has again pledged never to recognize the independence of the breakaway province.

Mr. Tadic told members of the Serb community in the eastern village of Cernica Thursday he supports them and will continue to support them, and will "never, never" accept an independent Kosovo.

Both Mr. Tadic and his ultra-nationalist rival Tomislav Nikolic are opposed to Kosovo independence. The United States and most European Union countries support it.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has said the province will declare independence within days of the Serbian vote, regardless of who wins.

Serbia's southern province has been under United Nations administration since 1999, after NATO airstrikes halted Belgrade's crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

Recent opinion polls show President Tadic, leader of the Democratic Party, with a slight advantage over Mr. Nikolic, the Serbian Radical Party's candidate. Mr. Nikolic was slightly ahead in the first round of voting last month.

Unlike his opponent, Mr. Tadic supports establishing closer ties with the European Union.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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