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Serbian President Says EU-Brokered Talks On Normalizing Kosovo Ties To Resume

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic

Serbia’s president says European Union-mediated negotiations on normalizing relations with Kosovo will resume within days.

Aleksandar Vucic did not specify the date for restarting the talks, which stalled last year, but said: “We are talking about days, not weeks."

Vucic added on June 4 that Serbia is "always ready to talk" and "does not want a frozen conflict."

Vucic spoke after U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer and the EU envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, visited Serbia to press its leaders to resume talks on the normalization of ties with Kosovo.

The Serbian government has stated that the normalization process with Kosovo is one of its priorities.

Palmer and Lajcak visited Pristina, Kosovo's capital, before traveling to Belgrade on June 3. Kosovo’s government, led by Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who took office in March, has said it is busy fighting the coronavirus pandemic and that talks with Serbia are not high on its list of immediate goals.

Both Washington and Brussels have said that normalization is essential for their further integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. Serbia and Kosovo are both seeking EU membership, and Kosovo aims at NATO membership too.

Kosovo, a former Serbian province, declared independence in 2008 after a 1998-99 conflict between separatist ethnic Albanian rebels and Serb forces. The war ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign that drove Serbian troops out, and a peacekeeping force moved in.

The United States and most EU countries have recognized Kosovo's statehood, while Serbia has the support of Russia and China.

Based on reporting by AP

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