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Vucic Says Serbia Must Resolve Dispute With Kosovo 'Together'

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (file photo)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says his country must resolve its differences with its former province of Kosovo to establish a “permanent” solution to benefit the entire region.

Vucic said in an opinion article published in the Blic newspaper that "it is important now, more than ever, that we all find an answer together."

"That [answer] should be permanent, rule out conflict as an option, and benefit everyone in this region," he said.

Vucic has in the past called for international discussions to resolve matters related to the future of its relations with Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognized by 114 countries but not by Belgrade.

Kosovo, which has a majority Albanian ethnic population, is supported by the West. Serbia is a traditional ally of Russia, but Vucic has attempted to balance relations between Moscow, the European Union, and the United States.

Kosovo and Serbia have both expressed hopes of joining the EU and have agreed to talks sponsored by the bloc on normalizing ties.

However, many Serbian nationalists oppose EU membership and are pushing for closer ties to Russia and do not want to recognize Kosovo as independent.

In his opinion piece, Vucic, a former extreme nationalist, said that "we must at least try to resolve the Kosovo knot and not hide and leave the toughest burden to our children."

Kosovar Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj praised Vucic's desires to resolve relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

"Breaking the silence and accepting the truth about independence and sovereignty…would open up the path for societal reconciliation, regional cooperation, European integration, and international affirmation," Hoxhaj told BIRN.

Based on reporting by AP, BIRN, and BalkanInsight
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