BRUSSELS (AP) — The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have agreed to meet in Brussels this month to discuss ways to end the deadlock in European Union-brokered talks aimed at improving relations between them. as ethnic tensions simmer, a spokesman for the European Commission said on Friday.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell hopes to speak with Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in the same room, rather than shuttling between them like…

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have agreed to meet in Brussels this month to discuss ways to end the deadlock in European Union-brokered talks aimed at improving relations between them. as ethnic tensions simmer, a spokesman for the European Commission said on Friday.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell hopes to speak with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in the same room, rather than shuttling between them as has been the case in the past on August 18, Borrell spokesman Peter Stano said. journalists.

The EU-backed Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, which aims to normalize relations between neighbors and former enemies, has been virtually stalled for years and leaders seem to agree on very little.

But Stano said, “Hey. We have an agreement. They agreed on the date and they agreed on the time.

He described the meeting as “a very important step”, which provides “another opportunity to try and move all the other issues forward”.

Both countries are pushing to join the 27-nation bloc, and the success of the EU-backed talks is vital to their chances.

Kosovo was part of Serbia until an armed uprising in 1998-99 by the territory’s ethnic Albanian majority triggered a bloody Serb crackdown. NATO then bombed Serbia to force its troops out of Kosovo and end a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

In 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence but Serbia refuses to recognize this decision.

On Monday, Kosovo authorities took steps to ease rising ethnic tensions in the country by delaying a controversial ordinance on vehicle license plates and identity cards that sparked riots by the Serb minority, which have erected roadblocks, sounded air raid sirens and fired guns into the air.

The NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo has warned that it is “ready to intervene if stability is threatened” and that it will “take all necessary measures to maintain a safe and secure environment at all times. in Kosovo, in accordance with its UN mandate”. .”

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