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EU's Mogherini, Kosovar Delegation Discuss Normalizing Relations With Serbia

Kosovar negotiators meet with the EU's Federica Mogherini in Brussels on January 8.

BRUSSELS -- EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on January 8 met with Kosovo's recently appointed negotiators for Pristina's dialogue with Belgrade and urged them to revoke customs tariffs imposed on Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina last year.

After meeting with a team of negotiators appointed by the Kosovar parliament last month, Mogherini reiterated “the urgency for Pristina to revoke the customs tariffs.”

Mogherini also noted that “reaching a comprehensive legally binding agreement on full normalization of relations in the context of the Pristina-Belgrade Dialogue requires a climate that contributes to good neighborly relations, whereby past agreements are respected and implemented, and actions and statements which are not compatible with the overall interest and strategic objectives of the region are avoided.”

Kosovo imposed a 100 percent tax on Serbian and Bosnian products in response to what Pristina said was Belgrade’s lobbying to prevent Kosovo from joining Interpol at the police organization’s annual conference in Dubai in November.

Shpend Ahmeti, the co-head of the Kosovar delegation, told journalists after the meeting with Mogherini that “tariffs are the only instrument in Kosovo’s foreign policy available in order to pressure Serbia. They are a consequence of a long, aggressive campaign that culminated in the Interpol nonrecognition.”

Relations between Pristina and Belgrade have been tense since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. More than 110 countries, including the United States, recognize Kosovo's independence, but Serbia does not.

Both Kosovo and Serbia have been told they must resolve their differences in order to make progress toward potential membership in the 28-member bloc.

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