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Kosovo PM Warns Serbia Against Interference

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is warning Serbia against any attempts to control parts of the newly independent territory.

The warning Tuesday came just days after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, with the backing of western countries. Despite the move, Serbs in the area have rejected the secession and are seeking protection from Belgrade.

On Monday, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica pledged that his country will continue to protect areas inhabited by what he called loyal Serbian citizens. The pledge has prompted fears that Kosovo is headed for partition.

Tuesday's warning from Kosovo came as several thousand mourners attended a funeral for a 21-year-old Kosovo Serb. The victim's charred body was found last week in part of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade set on fire by Serb protesters. Authorities say the victim joined in the attack to protest U.S. and Western recognition of Kosovo independence.

Serbia's top security body, the National Security Council, met Tuesday to discuss Serbia's handling of the protests that led to the attack on the U.S. mission and other embassies in Belgrade. The results of that meeting have not been announced.

U.S. and European Union officials have sharply criticized Serbia's response to the rioting, and are demanding better protection of diplomatic missions.

Separately today, police in the northern Bosnian town of Banja Luka used tear gas against a group of Serbs who stoned officers blocking their access to the U.S. consulate. An estimated 1,000 protesters also staged demonstrations today in the ethnically divided divided northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica.

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