|Protest in Serbian Capital Blegrade against EU blackmail|
The government of Serbia cannot accept principles verbally presented to its negotiating team in Brussels, since they do not guarantee full security and protection of human rights to the Serb people in Kosovo," Ivica Dacic, Serbian prime minister, told reporters.
Dacic spoke after the Serbian government met to draft a response to proposals made verbally in Brussels last week, when Belgrade and Pristina failed to find common ground on how to defuse their longstanding tensions.
Ashton's spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said the EU was waiting for the official decisions from Serbia and Kosovo.
Asked whether the dialogue can continue, Kocijancic said: "We need first to see the response and then decide how to take it forward."
The government on Monday in Belgrade rejected the principles which Brussels offered to its negotiating team, as they do not guarantee full security, survival and protection of human rights of the Serb people living in Kosovo.
At the same time, they supported Serbia's demand for an urgent resumption of the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Priština.
At a joint news conference held in Kosovska Mitrovica, support for the Serbian leadership was also expressed by representatives of political parties active in northern Kosovo.
Stojanka Petković, a member of the United Regions of Serbia (URS) Presidency, said that all political actors in northern Kosovo expect future talks to produce solutions which will not be contrary to the interests of Kosovo Serbs, or jeopardize the position or state interests of Serbia.
She said there is no reason to stir up panic among the people in the north, noting it is the politicians' job to calm tensions and KFOR's not to allow any violence.
Head of the Kosovska Mitrovica District Radenko Nedeljković said the response Belgrade sent to Brussels on Monday is "a responsible move on the part of Serbia's leaders."
This is a "no" to blackmails, conditions and threats from Brussels, he said, adding the decision can serve as a good starting point for future talks.
Nedeljković added that the position of the Serbian leaders is also a message to Serbs in Kosovo that they will remain citizens of Serbia.
He reiterated earlier demands from Kosovo Serbs that Russia become involved in the negotiating process.
Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) official Ninoslav Đerić said the unity of all political parties in northern Kosovo shows the people's determination to stay there.
"We have no other land, this is where our graves are, this is where our children were born, where our grandchildren are growing up, and this is why we are not leaving," said Đerić.
Support for the government's decision to reject the demeaning ultimatum which would mean renouncing one part of its territory and betraying the Serbs in the province was also expressed by Milan Ivanović (Serb National Council), Časlav Sofronijević (Democratic Party of Serbia), Milan Kosovac (citizens initiative "Serbia, Democracy, Justice"), and Bogdan Špadijer (Serb Progressive Party).
North Kosovo Serbs support government decision