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Serbia agrees border management with Kosovo

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Serbia agrees border management with Kosovo
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Serbia has agreed to accept border controls with Kosovo.

The deal to jointly manage crossings removes a key obstacle to Belgrade’s EU-membership bid, just a week before European leaders are due to discuss it.

Delegations from Kosovo and Serbia reached an accord in Brussels at EU-facilitated talks.

It is three years since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. Belgrade does not recognise the move but more than 80 countries, including the US and most of the EU, do.

The deal comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that recent border clashes showed Serbia was not yet ready to be a candidate for EU membership.

“In the long term, we want not only Serbia but also Kosovo to join the EU and for the EU to continue functioning,” she told Germany’s parliament on Friday. “That is why the only way Serbia can join the EU is through a normalisation of its relations with Kosovo.”

Thirty German and Austrian soldiers were injured on Monday in northern Kosovo as NATO peacekeepers tried to remove roadblocks put up by ethnic Serbs.