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Berlin Summit Seeks To Relaunch Serbia-Kosovo Talks


Kosovar President Hashim Thaci (right) and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (left) meet in Brussels with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in November 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will co-host a regional summit in Berlin on April 29 in a bid to reboot dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.

The meeting will concentrate on the "stability of the region, with a particular focus on finding a way to relaunch the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo," the French president's office said in a statement on April 28.

European Union-mediated talks between Serbia and Kosovo broke down last year after reports of possible border changes between the two countries drew massive criticism.

In November, Kosovo imposed a 100-percent tariff on Serbian goods, with Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj saying he would maintain the levy until Belgrade signals it was open to recognizing Kosovo's independence.

For its part, Belgrade said there would be no further talks with Kosovo until the tariff was removed.

A former Serbian province, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008, a move Serbia rejected. Both countries aspire to join the European Union, which has made the normalization of relations a precondition.

In the run-up to the Berlin meeting, both Kosovo and Serbia sought to lower expectations.

"At this moment, I don't understand how and what to talk to Pristina about," Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said during a trip to Beijing last week.

Kosovar President Hashim Thaci said the Berlin meeting "might open up opportunities, but it might be disappointing as well."

The president and prime minister of Albania are also expected to participate in the Berlin summit.

Based on reporting by AFP, TASS, and Euronews
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