European Union countries and Kosovo have welcomed a move by Serbia to soften a draft UN resolution on the future of its former province.
Belgrade, which plans to submit the draft resolution to the UN General Assembly later today, said on September 8 it would drop calls for the condemnation of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence.
However Serbia has not indicated whether it will drop its opposition to Kosovo's recognition by the United Nations.
"Serbia will, of course, continue its policy, which includes at the same time defending our national interests," Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said today, "but Serbia also must take into consideration the views of all our friends, and also those who have different views, and whose position is very important in the international community."
In a statement, Serbian President Boris Tadic made Belgrade's first call for a new EU-mediated "dialogue" with ethnic Albanian leaders in Kosovo over the future of the territory.
In a statement today, Kosovo's government also welcomed the draft resolution, saying it was "in full accordance with the reality created in Kosovo."
Serbian President Boris Tadic has described the draft as a "compromise" by Serbia with the EU, which Serbia hopes to join in the future.
The EU's foreign-policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said in a statement that she "warmly" welcomed the Serbian announcement.
The Serbian decision is expected to move the Kosovo debate out of the United Nations, where major power Russia backed Serbia's opposition to Kosovo independence, to the EU, where most member nations have already recognized Kosovo's independence.
The announcement has been welcomed by Serbian liberal politicians who support closer ties to the EU, but condemned as treacherous by opposition hard-liners who view Serbian control over Kosovo as nonnegotiable.
The Serbian announcement follows the nonbinding July decision by the International Court Of Justice that Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence did not violate international law.
Seventy countries, including the United States and most EU states, have so far recognized Kosovo's independence.
compiled from agency reports