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Serbia, Kosovo working toward solution

Jan. 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM

BELGRADE, Serbia, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- European Council President Herman Van Rompuy Friday pledged to Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic the European Union would fulfill its obligations to Serbia.

Dacic, during a joint news conference in Brussels with Van Rompuy, said he expected Serbia to begin negotiations for his country's membership in the bloc because "Serbian people deserve to live better," Tanjug reported Friday.

Van Rompuy praised Dacic for his commitment to pursuing normalized relations with Kosovo. He said the European Council would, in the spring, assess the progress of talks between Serbia and Kosovo, then decide what next steps need to be taken.

"The EU will fulfill its obligations to Serbia," Van Rompuy said.

Dacic said Serbia was determined to achieve two key goals in its discussions with Kosovo: a sustainable solution for the Belgrade-Pristina relations and fast-track movement concerning integration into the European Union, Tanjug said.

"We will take care of legitimate interests of Serbia and Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, and of course of interests of Albanians," he said, expressing hope that Serbia's European Union accession talks would be under way by the next time he and Van Rompuy meet.

Officials said Dacic and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci agreed on a temporary solution for customs collection at administrative crossings during discussions Thursday.

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