Serbia and Kosovo closing in on route to seal ties

By bne IntelliNews May 23, 2013

bne -

Serbia and Kosovo on May 23 agreed, in principle, a plan to implement the historic accord they reached in April to normalize relations. The agreement is a further step that strengthens Serbia's chances of getting the go-ahead in June to start talks on joining the EU.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaci reached the draft agreement in two days of talks in Brussels, chaired by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The two leaders will return to their capitals to consult other political leaders before giving their final verdict on the plan.

Although details of the draft agreement were not made public, it is reported to set out concrete steps for putting into practice the ground-breaking agreement to normalise relations. The EU has spent years working on smoothing over the antagonism between the two foes, who fought an ethnic civil war in the 1990s.

That led to Kosovo breaking away from Serbia and declaring independence. While Belgrade has gradually moved towards accepting that reality, the situation surrounding Serb dominated areas of northern Kosovo complicates matters.

Ashton said in a statement that the two prime ministers "continued their discussions and have agreed a fixed text which they are now consulting upon. They will be in touch with me by the end of the week."

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