Serbia-Kosovo final talks end with no deal

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Serbian and Kosovar leaders left Brussels early on Wednesday without a deal after more than 12 hours of discussions.

Aimed at normalising the relations between both sides, Pristine and Belgrade have held 8 rounds of EU-mediated talks but have so far failed to reach an agreement.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 with the backing of the West. But Serbia has so far refused to recognise the secession, due to concerns about the large Serbian community living in the north.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said it was the last time all sides would meet formally in Brussels.

‘This is the last time we will meet formally. A number of proposals were put on the table. The gap between the two sides is very narrow, but deep. They will now both go back and consult with their colleagues in the capitals and will let me know in the next few days of their decision’, said EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The unresolved talks represent a major setback for Serbia’s hopes of starting EU membership discussions this year.

In June, Brussels will decide whether to launch EU accession talks with Serbia, after Madame Ashton issues a progress report in mid-April.

‘We have had an intensive dialogue process in the last 6 months. They have met 8 times and they have indeed discusses for many hours. We think that the elements for possible solutions are there and the two sides will now consult in their own capitals and we will take it from there’, said EU’s spokesperson Maja Kocijancic .

The EU-mediated dialogue began in March 2011. Since then, agreements on several issues, such as the free flow of people and goods, have been reached.


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