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Kosovo's President Says Agreed With Trump On Need For Comprehensive Agreement With Serbia


EU foreignpolicy chief Federica Mogherini (middle), Kosovar President Hashim Thaci (right) and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic meet in Brussels, November 8

Kosovar President Hasim Thaci says he agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump on the need to reach a final and comprehensive peace agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.

Thaci, who met with Trump while in Paris on November 11 during commemorations of the end of World War I, said that Trump supported a legally binding agreement between Kosovo and Serbia after the two agreed "on the need to extend peace and reconciliation" in the Western Balkans.

"I am grateful for his and U.S. support," Thaci wrote in a tweet giving details of the meeting of the two presidents.

The Kosovar leader said he also discussed Pristina's normalization talks with Belgrade during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris.

"On this topic, President Putin was clear: 'If you (Kosovo & Serbia) achieve a peaceful agreement, Russia will support it," he wrote on Twitter.

The two Balkan countries are both pursuing normalization in hopes of furthering their bids to join the European Union.

EU diplomats have said they must reach a binding agreement on sensitive issues such as their common border and whether Serbia will recognize Kosovo's independence, which it declared 10 years ago.

This summer, Thaci and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, both raised the possibility of redrawing their border in comments that alarmed some observers who feared it might revive the ethnic divisions that fed the 1990s Balkans war.

Thaci said in a November 9 interview with the AFP news agency that any revised border with Serbia that comes out of the two neighbors' normalization talks will not be drawn along ethnic lines.

The interview came a day after a short, tense meeting with Vucic in Brussels that was hosted by EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Serbia has never recognized the independence of its former province although more than 110 other countries have done so. Serbian ally Russia has for years blocked Kosovo's recognition at the United Nations.

Kosovo's recent decision to create its own army has provoked anger from its own ethnic Serb minority as well as from Serbia.

NATO, which currently leads the KFOR military force that ensures Kosovo's security, has also expressed reservations over the idea.