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Belgrade Wants UN To Join Talks With Kosovo

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic (left) with visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The new Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic says that Belgrade would seek to include the United Nations in talks with Kosovo.

Speaking on July 23, Nikolic also asked the visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to respect Serbia's sovereignty over Kosovo.

The negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo began in 2011, under European Union pressure for the two sides to resolve problems stemming from Kosovo's secession from Serbia.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008, nine years after NATO ousted Belgrade's armed forces from the territory.

A UN resolution adopted in June 1999 after Serb troops withdrew from Kosovo provides for substantial autonomy for Pristina.

However, it also recognizes Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, leaving the question of Kosovo's final status to a later date.

Kosovo has been recognized by leading Western powers.

Based on reporting by dpa, AFP, B92, and RFE/RL's Balkan Service