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Nikolic Tells Neighbors He Won't Be An Obstacle


Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic

Serbia's new nationalist president says his country would try to normalize ties with Kosovo but would never recognize as a country the region that seceded from Serbia in 2008.

Nikolic told a Belgrade meeting of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) that Serbia is ready to resume European Union-brokered negotiations on normalizing ties with Kosovo that were initially launched by his predecessor, Boris Tadic.

After upsetting Bosnia and Croatia during the last few weeks with remarks about the 1990s Balkans wars, Nikolic on June 15 said he did not want to be an obstacle to regional cooperation.

The SEECP meeting ended without a joint declaration as Serbia and Albania disagreed over the possible inclusion and representation of Kosovo in the regional grouping set up in 1996 to promote members' EU integration.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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