Serbian president to meet US, Russia, China, EU ambassadors after clashes erupt

(Reuters) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will meet on Tuesday with the ambassadors of the United States, Russia, China, Britain and the head of the European Union mission, the president's office said late on Monday, after new clashes erupted in northern Kosovo.

Vucic put the army on the highest level of combat alert after around 25 NATO peacekeeping soldiers defending three town halls in northern Kosovo were injured in clashes with Serb protesters.

Vucic at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) will meet with the ambassadors of the United States, Italy, France, Germany and Britain, known as the Quint group, and the head of the EU office in Pristina, a president's office statement said.

Afterwards, he will conduct separate meetings with the ambassadors of Finland, Russia and China.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell late on Monday condemned the clashes, calling the violence against NATO peacekeepers "absolutely unacceptable" and urging immediate dialogue.

"The EU urges Kosovo authorities and the protesters to immediately and unconditionally de-escalate the situation,” Borrell said on Twitter.

The tense situation, the latest in a long history of flare ups, developed after ethnic Albanian mayors took office in northern Kosovo's Serb majority area after elections the Serbs boycotted - a move that led the U.S. and its allies to rebuke Pristina on Friday.

Serbs, who comprise a majority in Kosovo's north, have never accepted its 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia and still see Belgrade as their capital more than two decades after the Kosovo Albanian uprising against repressive Serbian rule.

Ethnic Albanians make up more than 90% of the population in Kosovo as a whole.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; editing by Grant McCool)