Belgium urges Serbia to revive dialogue with Kosovo

During a visit to Belgrade on Thursday evening, Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib called on the Serbian government to resume dialogue with Kosovo on the normalisation of their relations.

During her visit, Lahbib called for "de-escalation" and "a renewed commitment to the normalisation process". "This is the only way to a sustainable agreement and the only way to offer both sides a future of EU integration," she said in the Serbian capital after talks with Foreign minister Ivica Dacic. On Friday, she will deliver the same message in Kosovo.

The EU has been mediating between Serbia and Kosovo for more than a decade, but has yet to achieve a major breakthrough. In recent months, talks have come to a complete standstill. A new blueprint for normalising relations has been on the table since March, but both sides are dragging their feet. At the same time, there has been violence in northern Kosovo.

Kosovo came under UN administration in 1999 and declared independence in 2008. More than 100 countries, including most EU members, recognise its independence. Serbia does not: it regards Kosovo as a Serbian province. About 120,000 Serbs still live in Kosovo, mostly in the north.


Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE

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