Belgium: Serbia's Vucic and Kosovo's Hoti meet in Brussels to discuss normalising relations

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti met in Brussels on Thursday, as part of the Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue, aimed at normalising relations between both countries, mediated by the European Union. It was the second meeting within week, after a 20-month halt in the negotiations. EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell said he was «glad to see that the European Union is back in the driver's seat of the process.» «And, by meeting for the second time in a week, the two leaders show their firm commitment to the EU-facilitated dialogue among them and I had to welcome that very much,» said Borrell. «Today, I expect a constructive discussion on the first element of our talks, which will contribute to the comprehensive normalisation of the relations between Kosovo and Serbia. I encourage both sides to approach today's talks in the spirit of compromise and pragmatism and with European future for the people in Kosovo and Serbia in their mind,» he added. The negotiations known as the Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue began in March 2011 and came to a halt in November 2018. Serbia and Kosovo, both seeking to advance in their EU membership aspirations, agreed to resume the talks after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday. Tensions between Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority and Serbia escalated in 1998 with the Kosovo War. Serbia refused to recognise its province as a sovereign state after NATO intervened to curb ethnic warfare. In 2008, Pristina unilaterally declared independence, a move that Serbia again rejected.

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