Serbia and its former province of Kosovo have reached an EU-brokered accord aimed at normalising relations between the Balkan neighbours. “And the white smoke is out! Habemus pactum!” Kosovo’s Integration Minister Vlora Citaku tweeted after the talks.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008. While many countries recognise it as an independent country, Serbia does not.
Serbia must normalise relations with neighbours before joining the EU.
The deal was reached after months of tense negotiations between Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Brussels.
“The negotiations have concluded. The text has been initialled by both prime ministers,” said the EU’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, who mediated the talks.
Earlier this month, Serbia rejected an agreement proposal because the terms did not “guarantee full security and protection of human rights to the Serb people in Kosovo”.
Tension between Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority and remaining ethnic Serbs has led to violence in recent years, notably around customs posts in northern Kosovo.