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Leaders Of Serbia, Kosovo Plan Meeting To 'Work Out' Problems

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini with Kosovar President Hashim Thaci (left) and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, in 2017.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says he will meet in Brussels next week with his Kosovar counterpart, Hashim Thaci, in an effort to "work out our problems.”

"I am going to resume dialogue…to try to work out our problems, even if I don't trust them.... We have no choice," Vucic told reporters in Belgrade on March 17.

Vucic said his meeting with Thaci is scheduled for March 23.

The European Union insists normalization of ties between Belgrade and Pristina, which fought a war in the 1990s, is a key condition both must meet in order to join the bloc.

On March 14, Vucic said his country was ready for a compromise over its dispute with Kosovo given its importance to the country’s future.

"For us, the most difficult obstacle on the road to Europe is indeed the situation over Kosovo, and because of that, Serbia is...ready to talk about possible compromises," Vucic said.

Kosovo's 1998-99 armed resistance ended after a 78-day air strike campaign from NATO against Serbia to stop a bloody crackdown against ethnic Albanians.

Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared independence nearly a decade later. More than 110 countries recognize its independence. Serbia and its ally Russia do not.

Belgrade and Pristina recently relaunched a low-level, EU-sponsored dialogue on normalizing relations, which first began in 2011.

Kosovo is home to some 120,000 ethnic Serbs, which is an estimate because they refuse to take part in a census.

Based on reporting by AFP and Gazeta Express