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Serbia and Kosovo leaders to talk at EU summit

BRUSSELS (AP) – The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have been invited to meet with top European Union (EU) officials to try to breathe life into talks aimed at normalising their relations, as the 27-nation bloc’s leaders gather in Brussels for a two-day summit starting today.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti are not expected to meet face to face, but the aim is to push forward with new “proposals and ideas” floated in exploratory talks last weekend, said Peter Stano, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Fears are high of a resumption of the violence that has characterized their ties since Kosovo unilaterally broke away from Serbia in 2008. Belgrade has never recognised the move. The EU, through Borrell, has supervised a “dialogue” between them to get things back on track.

The meetings, if they proceed, could be an important step forward, after about 30 Serb gunmen crossed into northern Kosovo on September 24, killing a police officer and setting up barricades before launching an hours-long gun battle with Kosovo police. Three gunmen were killed.

Stano said the EU expects “quick action by the parties to show they are committed to continue to the normalisation process – by delivering on their respective dialogue obligations… as well as all past agreements – without preconditions or delays.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic poses with European Union (EU) envoy Miroslav Lajcak and other EU diplomats. PHOTO: AP