Serbia has rejected a European Union-brokered deal on normalising ties with its breakaway province of Kosovo.

Protesters outside the Serb government building in Belgrade had called for the deal to be rejected
Protesters outside the Serb government building in Belgrade had called for the deal to be rejected

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008. While many countries recognise it as an independent country, Serbia does not.

The EU had given Serbia until Tuesday to relinquish its effective control over northern Kosovo in return for the start of EU membership talks.

Serbia must normalise relations with its neighbours before joining the EU.

Many minority ethnic Serbs in Kosovo reject the authority of the Kosovo government in Pristina.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic told reporters: “The government of Serbia cannot accept principles verbally presented to its negotiating team in Brussels, since they do not guarantee full security and protection of human rights to the Serb people in Kosovo.”

Last week, an eighth round of EU-mediated talks between Serbia and Kosovo broke up without a deal on normalising ties.

Serbia said on Monday that it wanted negotiations to continue, although Catherine Ashton, the EU’s top diplomat, said after the break-up of talks last week that the EU’s mediation was over.

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

Source

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