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Serbian President's Kosovo Trip Excludes Albanian Leaders

15 February 2005 -- Serbian President Boris Tadic has concluded a two-day visit to Kosovo, where he met with members of the Serbian minority but held no talks with the leadership of the ethnic Albanian majority.

Tadic, the first Serbian president to visit the province since the 1999 Kosovo war, appealed yesterday for peace and equal rights for all of Kosovo's citizens.

Citing the plight of Serbs who live in isolation in Kosovo, purportedly fearing attacks by ethnic Albanians, Tadic called for more international action to defend what he called "European values" and to improve the situation of Serbs and other non-Albanians.

Ethnic Albanians were reported angered by Tadic's statement during the trip that Serbia will never accept an independent Kosovo.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian President Ibrahim Rugova said Tadic's comments would have no impact on Kosovo's path to independence.

Talks under United Nations auspices are due be held later to discuss Kosovo's future status.