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Serbia, Kosovo delegates meet to implement agreement

April 25, 2013 at 9:42 AM

BRUSSELS, April 25 (UPI) -- Diplomats from Serbia and Kosovo met in Belgium Thursday to seek a way to implement a plan that would normalize relations between the countries, officials say.

An agreement in principle was initialed last week by the countries' leaders, B92 and Tanjug reported.

Each side will first meet separately with Catherine Ashton, the European Union's top diplomat who mediated previous negotiations, said an Ashton spokeswoman. Afterward, the teams will meet jointly.

The talks will center on the order in which the points in the agreement will be implemented and deadlines for them to be accomplished, said Suzana Grubjesic, Serbia's deputy prime minister for EU integration.

Hashim Thaci, Kosovo's prime minister, said he expected a formal plan to be completed by Friday.

Although Serbia has refused to recognize the independence of Kosovo, which it considers a breakaway province, Thaci called the plan the first formal agreement "between the two countries."

He called the agreement "a plan of peace, understanding, tolerance and joint life in the future."

Ahead of the meeting, Ashton said the European Union hadn't asked Serbia to recognize Kosovo's independence.

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