Serbia to Hold Talks on Normalizing Ties With Kosovo, Dacic Says

Serbia’s government will hold talks with leaders of a majority-Serb area in northern Kosovo to implement a deal normalizing the country’s relationship with its former province, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said.

“This is a good time to change Serbia’s image in the world and we shouldn’t give away this opportunity,” Dacic told journalists in Vienna today after meeting Austria’s Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger.

Serbia and Kosovo initialed an European Union-mediated deal on improving ties and have yet to work out details. The government needs to implement the deal so that the EU’s members can decide on starting negotiations with Serbia on joining the bloc, Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said April 26.

The accord has raised criticism from Serbs in northern Kosovo over concerns that their interests are being sacrificed to benefit Serbia’s bid for EU membership. Serbia and Kosovo have been at loggerheads since the wars of the 1990s that led to the breakup of Yugoslavia. Kosovo is recognized by the U.S. and 22 of the EU’s 27 members.

The talks aren’t about recognizing Kosovo as a sovereign state and nobody has to fear that jobs will be lost, Dacic said. “This is a good solution.”

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