Kosovo's Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci
Kosovo's Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci ARMEND NIMANI/AFP/Getty Images

Simmering ethnic tensions in the Balkans re-emerged today, as hundreds of Serb nationalists chanted "Kill! Kill!" while protesting against the visit of a Kosovo official.

Kosovo's Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci, a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, arrived in the tiny state's capital, Podgorica, on 16 January for a two-day visit.

The trip angered Montenegro's Serb nationalists, who accuse the 46-year-old of committing war crimes against ethnic Serbs during Kosovo's 1998-1999 war for independence.

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets as Thaci was due to meet with his Montenegrin counterpart Igor Luiksic.

Montenegro top Serb religious figure, Orthodox Bishop Amfilohije, also condemned the visit, describing it as an insult to Serbs who fled Kosovo during the war.

"I hope we will come to return the keys of houses for 30,000 displaced persons from Kosovo who live like beggars," Amfilohije said, Balkan Insight reported.

Montenegro split from Serbia after a referendum in 2006. Ethnic Serbs make up roughly one third of its 700,000-strong population; Montenegrins are about 45% while the rest is divided between Albanians, Bosnians and other ethnicities.

Podgorica has established diplomatic ties with Pristina after Kosovo, which has a mainly Albanian Muslim population, declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

The move has been strongly opposed by Serbia, which, unlike the US and majority of the 28 EU countries, doesn't recognise Kosovo as a sovereign state.