Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Monday, 18 February 2008

Kosovo stirs Balkan neighbours

Bosnian Serbs hold a Serbian flag in Banja Luka (AP)
Bosnian Serbs have condemned the declaration as invalid

Bosnian Serb protesters have thrown stones at Western consulates, in a further display of anger at Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Banja Luka in the Bosnian Serb republic, chanting "Kosovo is Serbian!"

There were more demonstrations in Serbia, but in the rest of the Balkans the reaction was more cautious.

Montenegro, where Serbs make up 30% of the population, said it would wait for a clear response from the EU.

Montenegro declared independence from Serbia in 2006 and has taken its first step towards joining the European Union.

Appeal for restraint

Croatia, which also has a large Serb minority, appealed for restraint.

Map of Kosovo and its neighbours

As a candidate for EU membership, Zagreb said it would "adjust its foreign policy decisions with the common foreign and security policy of the European Union".

In Macedonia, where a quarter of the population is ethnic Albanian, there were widespread celebrations after news of the proclamation from Pristina.

The government said it was closely watching events, taking care not to stir ethnic tensions which in 2001 led to an Albanian rebellion in the north and west of Macedonia.

Bulgaria, which is already an EU member, has also decided to adopt a wait-and-see approach although it said it understood Serbian anger.

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