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Breakdown in Kosovo talks puts time pressure on Belgrade

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Breakdown in Kosovo talks puts time pressure on Belgrade
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The breakdown of talks in Brussels over northern Kosovo has highlighted a growing sense of urgency in Belgrade, with headlines warning time is running out.

An agreement on the Serb dominated enclave in the north of Kosovo would accelerate talks for Serbia to join the EU.

In Belgrade, one resident said: “The government must go and negotiate, there is no other option.”

Another said: “There is no dilemma. We have to keep going forward. Kosovo was lost a long time ago.”

The majority ethnic Albanians in Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. But in the north around Mitrovica, ethnic Serbs are in the majority and the talks in Brussels were the latest attempt to end what is effectively a partition of Kosovo.

Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo’s independence, but the EU wants to see ‘normalised relations’ between the two before advancing the membership process.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci hinted at the possibility of another meeting next week, but did not say where or when. Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said: “This is not the end.”