Serbia says it is ready to loosen its control over Serb-populated areas of northern Kosovo in what could mark a major concession by Belgrade as it pushes for talks on joining the European Union.
Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said on January 9 that Serbs in northern Kosovo should be governed by their own autonomous institutions -- not directly by the Serbian state.
Dacic, who is taking part in EU-mediated talks with Kosovo, said the negotiations needed "Serb institutions that are recognized by all participants."
He said that would mean Serbia would also recognize an autonomous ethnic Albanian authority in Kosovo.
"I think it was a mistake of Serbs in Kosovo who have been listening to Belgrade for the past 13 years, instead of creating their own autonomy, their own association of municipalities, their own institutions," Dacic said.
"Now we are talking about institutions of Serbia, but we need institutions of Serbs who live in Kosovo."
Nevertheless, Serbia's new nationalist-led government vowed on January 9 never to recognize Kosovo's independence.
Majority-Albanian Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serb-populated areas in the north remain under Belgrade's control.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AP