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Nikolic: Kosovo recognition not required

June 15, 2012 at 3:48 PM

BRUSSELS, June 15 (UPI) -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said the European Union will not demand the country recognize Kosovo as a condition for EU membership.

Nikolic's remarks came after he met Thursday with top EU officials in Brussels during his first state trip since his inauguration Monday, the EUobserver reported.

"I was assured that the European Union will not demand from us to recognize Kosovo officially, but will demand from us to have better relations [with the country]," Nikolic said. "That's good for us all."

He said he would review previous agreements on relations with Kosovo before deciding whether to honor them.

"I support all agreements that are not against the constitutional order of Serbia and that are not harmful to Serbian citizens. ... We have to have some clarifications from our negotiator in Belgrade about some critical points," Nikolic said.

The EUobserver said the agreements on issues including customs checkpoints and exchange of land registries had been brokered by EU diplomats and signed by Boris Tadic, Nikolic's pro-EU predecessor.

Nikolic, the leader of the Serbian Progressive Party, won the presidency in a major upset over Tadic.

Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo's independence.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said "normalization of Serbia's relations with Kosovo remains an absolutely central condition of moving to the next step [of accession talks]."

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