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Kosovo-Serbia flights to restart after two decades after historic air deal

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By Seana Davis  & Alastair Jamieson, AP
The signing of the letter of intent in Berlin, January 20th.
The signing of the letter of intent in Berlin, January 20th.   -   Copyright  Associated Press   -   Davis, Seana

Direct flights are to resume between Kosovo and Belgrade for the first time since the start of the Kosovo War more than two decades ago in what is being hailed as an important diplomatic step.

Eurowings, the no-frills subsidiary of German flag-carrier Lufthansa, will fly between the Kosovan and Serb capitals following a deal brokered by US diplomats.

Serbia and Kosovo have remained uneasy neighbours ever since their 1998-99 war that claimed more than 10,000 lives and left over one million people homeless.

There have been no commercial flights between Kosovo and Serbia in 21 years. Currently, it takes over five hours to travel from Belgrade to Pristina overland.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci called it "an important step for the movement of citizens and the normalisation process" while the Serbian President said his country was "ready to pursue more such initiatives" with the aim of "bringing people in the Balkans closer together".

However, Serbia is calling on Kosovo to drop a 100% tax on Serb products before these flights take off.

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