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Serbian president Nikolic promises closer EU ties

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Serbian president Nikolic promises closer EU ties

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Serbia’s new president has taken office reiterating his support for the country to join the EU.

Tomislav Nikolic told politicians in the Belgrade parliament that he wants a “house with two doors, to the East and to the West” – referring to a desire to maintain relations with historic ally Russia while strengthening ties with Brussels.

A major obstruction to EU entry is Serbia’s opposition to the declaration of independence by Kosovo, its former province, in 2008.

Serbia is a republic of the former Yugoslavia, which was an Eastern Bloc country aligned with the Soviet Union.

Nikolic has already met Russian President Vladimir Putin despite promises that his first trip as leader would be to Brussels.

Nikolic was a coalition partner of Slobodan Milosevic during the late 1990s Kosovo War.