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Serbia, Kosovo agree tentative deal on improving ties

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Serbia, Kosovo agree tentative deal on improving ties

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Serbia and Kosovo have agreed a tentative deal to normalise relations.

A Serbian diplomat told euronews that the accord does not amount to Belgrade recognising Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

Both agree not to block each other’s bids to join international organisations; a sticking point that led to the breakdown of talks on Wednesday.

“I want to congratulate (both sides) for the determination, over this months, and for the courage they have. It’s very important, that what we are seeing is a step away from the past and for both of them a step closer to Europe,” said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The EU wanted Serbia to improve ties with its neighbour before it can open negotiations to join bloc.

Ending the partition of Kosovo between the Albanian majority and the Serb-controlled north is a key condition.

Today’s agreement is the first step in that process and the draft must be approved by elected politicians in both Pristina and Belgrade.

Kosovo declared independence five years ago, but the Serbian constitution still states that it remains part of Serbia.