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Serbian Prime Minister Celebrates Orthodox New Year In Kosovo

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has started an Orthodox New Year visit to Kosovo, whose independence Serbia refuses to recognize.

Vucic is visiting Serb enclaves, and no meetings with Kosovo leaders were planned.

Several hundred Serbs greeted the premier upon his arrival to inaugurate a maternity ward in the village of Pasjane on January 14.

He was also to visit Strpce and Gracanica in the mostly Muslim country of nearly 2 million, which has a Serbian minority of about 120,000.

The delegation also included Serbia's ministers of defense, interior, justice, and health.

The Kosovo government approved the visit, describing it as both "humanitarian and religious."

Interaction between Belgrade and Pristina has improved since their relations were normalized in 2013 under an agreement brokered by the European Union.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 following a 1998-99 war.

Based on reporting by AFP