Serbia, Kosovo leaders to meet for renewed EU talks


Belgrade (AFP)

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo are set to meet in Brussels next week for the first time in more than a year as part of re-launched EU-sponsored talks on normalising ties.

"I am going to resume dialogue with (the Kosovans) to try to work out our problems, even if I don't trust them... we have no choice," Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters in Belgrade.

He said will meet his Kosovan counterpart Hashim Thaci on March 23.

Brussels insists normalisation of ties between the former foes, who fought each other in a 1990s war, is a key condition they both must meet in order to join the European Union.

Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo's independence, declared unilaterally a decade ago.

Serbia and mostly ethnic Albanian Kosovo have had difficult relations ever since the 1998-99 conflict, which claimed some 13,000 lives.

It ended after NATO launched a bombing campaign to oust Serbian forces from Kosovo.

Today, Kosovo is home to some 120,000 ethnic Serbs, which is an estimate because they refuse to take part in a census.