World Bulletin/News Desk
Kosovo said on Saturday it had rejected a request from Serbia's president to visit his ethnic kin to mark Orthodox Christmas, saying the ban was in response to Belgrade's refusal to let Kosovo officials visit Serbia.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic had asked to attend an Orthodox Christmas mass on Monday at Gracanica monastery in a Serb enclave just a few kilometers from the capital Pristina.
"We will use reciprocity measures, if our officials are not allowed to go to Serbia certainly we will apply the same measures," Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi said at a news conference on Saturday.
Serbia and its former Kosovo province fought a war in 1998-99, which ended when NATO intervened with 78 days of air strikes to drive out Serb forces. Kosovo, whose population is mostly Muslim ethnic Albanian, declared independence in 2008, which Serbia does not recognise.
While several Serb ministers have been denied entry to Kosovo, some top officials - including former president Boris Tadic - have been allowed to attend religious festivals in the past.
But a senior government official said the most recent rejection came after four Kosovo government ministers were denied entry to Serbia during 2012.
Last Christmas, Kosovo Albanian protesters hurled stones at a motorcade carrying former president Tadic when he visited a monastery in western Kosovo.
Nikolic, a former head of the ruling nationalist Serbian Progressive Party, has accused European Union authorities in Kosovo of bias by letting Kosovo authorities to decide whether the Serb leader could visit Kosovo.
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A man and two children were injured when an Israeli aircraft fired on them in the city of Beit Lahia.
Moscow is "extremely surprised by the distorted interpretation (of the agreement) by the Kiev authorities and the American partners," the foreign ministry said.
A remote Sunni village of roughly 2,000 people, Tfail is surrounded on three sides by Syria, and the primary route to the rest of Lebanon goes through its neighbour.
Russia conducted military exercises in its south-eastern Rostov region, which borders Ukraine
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Christian Arabs, who are actually Palestinians, are among the 1.6 million Arabs who refused to leave their homes despite the Israeli occupation.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye appealed to his Chinese counterpart as the North looks set to defy UN obligations.