Leaders of Serbia and Kosovo meet for first time

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Hashim Thaci is seen here at a recent conference in Pristina

The prime ministers of Serbia and its breakaway territory of Kosovo have met for the first time at talks brokered by the EU in Brussels.

Ivica Dacic met Kosovo's Hashim Thaci at talks chaired by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

Baroness Ashton's office said both leaders had undertaken to work together to normalise relations.

Serbia, which lost control of Kosovo after a war in 1999, does not accept its independence.

Kosovo's statehood has been recognised by most EU states and many other countries.

Baroness Ashton said she and the two prime ministers would "meet again soon... to improve the lives of people and help solve problems and, in so doing, bring Serbia and Kosovo closer" to the EU.

Tension between Kosovo's ruling ethnic Albanian majority and remaining ethnic Serbs has resulted in violence in recent years, notably along the northern border with Serbia.

EU leaders granted Serbia "candidate status" at a summit in Brussels in June.

The EU also plays a key supervisory role in Kosovo through its Eulex rule-of-law mission while soldiers from EU states are deployed as part of the K-For peacekeeping mission.

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