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Serbia Ready To Talk With Kosovo Albanian Leaders

Tadic offered to hold talks -- with conditions
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia is willing to hold talks with Kosovo's Albanian leadership to discuss day-to-day issues in the former province, which declared its independence a year ago, Serbian President Boris Tadic has said.

The United Nations and European Union have suggested Belgrade and Pristina could hold talks later this month in what would be their first meeting since UN-mediated negotiations on Kosovo's status collapsed in 2007.

"We are ready to talk about daily, real-life issues with legitimate representatives of Kosovo Albanians, but these issues must not question Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty," Tadic said in an address marking his Democratic Party's anniversary on February 3.

Kosovo's Albanian majority, backed by the United States and Western countries, proclaimed independence nine years after NATO bombed Serb forces to stop ethnic cleansing in a two-year counter-insurgency war.

Serbia and its ally Russia oppose independence and pledge to block Kosovo's membership in international organizations.

On February 2, Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said the Balkan country would never allow Kosovo to join the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

"Never and under no conditions will Serbia give its vote for Kosovo's membership" in the OSCE, Jeremic said after meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

Ethnic tensions remain high between the 2 million-strong ethnic Albanian majority and the 120,000 Kosovo Serbs who reject working with Pristina institutions.