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Fresh Serbia-Kosovo Talks Under Way In Brussels

European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton (center) at a meeting with Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (right) and his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic, in Brussels earlier this year.
EU foreign-policy and security chief Catherine Ashton has held several rounds of bilateral and trilateral talks with the prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo aimed at normalizing relations between the two sides.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his Kosovar counterpart, Hashim Thaci, met separately with Ashton earlier on April 17 and also held three-way meetings.

The unexpected, fresh round of negotiations was announced after the EU delayed the release of reports on April 16 assessing whether Serbia is ready to start EU membership talks and Kosovo is ready for talks on a stabilization and association agreement.

The EU has linked Serbian progress toward EU membership to improvement in relations with Kosovo.

Belgrade does not recognize Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

Last week, Serbia rejected an EU-brokered agreement aimed at normalizing ties between Kosovo's ethnic Serbian minority and the majority Albanians.

With reporting by