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German FM Presses Kosovo On Montenegrin Border Deal, Serbia Ties

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (left) and Kosovar Prime Minister Isa Mustafa in Pristina on April 13.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has urged Kosovo to finalize a border demarcation agreement with Montenegro to unlock a visa liberalization agreement with the European Union.

Speaking after an April 13 meeting with Kosovar Prime Minister Isa Mustafa in Pristina, Gabriel said that Kosovo also needs to improve relations with Serbia to advance its bid to join the EU.

Kosovo’s opposition parties have blocked the governing coalition from ratifying the border deal signed with Montenegro two years ago by disrupting parliament.

Gabriel, who was in Belgrade on April 12, also called on Kosovo and Serbia to continue dialogue and "first of all to avoid provocations."

Predominantly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo broke away from Serbia in a 1998-99 war and declared independence in 2008. It is recognized by 114 nations, but not by Belgrade.

Tensions are still high, both between Serbia and Kosovo and between the ethnic Serb minority and central authorities within Kosovo.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters