Serbia, Kosovo start talks to end border tension

Serbia, Kosovo start talks to end border tension

BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
Serbia and Kosovo discussed how to defuse tension on their Balkan border as the EU warned Belgrade to improve relations with Pristina or put at risk its bid for entry into the bloc.

With fresh violence erupting on the north Kosovo border in recent days, an EU proposal for inter-border management “has been the main issue” at talks that lasted through Nov. 30 and were to continue yesterday, an EU diplomat said.

“There has been progress, that’s why they’re pressing ahead, but there’s still no agreement,” the diplomat added.

EU foreign ministers gathering Thursday will be closely watching progress at this eighth round of European Union brokered talks, with the outcome likely to determine whether a summit next week gives its blessing to Serbia becoming a candidate for membership.

Britain, France and Germany notably “need more proof that Serbia is normalizing relations with Kosovo”, said another EU diplomat.

“I expect more from the Serbian government and the local problem cannot be resolved only militarily by KFOR,” said German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere, referring to the KFOR’s attempts to dismantle roadblocks thrown up by northern Kosovo’s Serbs.