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EU praises Serbia move on Kosovo but wants more action

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(BRUSSELS) - The European Union on Tuesday praised Serbia's new government for pushing ahead with a deal to defuse tension with Kosovo while calling on both sides to do more.

EU president Herman Van Rompuy said after meeting Prime Minister Ivica Dacic that a "visible" improvement of ties with Kosovo was key to beginning negotiations with Belgrade to allow Serbia to join the bloc.

He praised Serbia for agreeing this weekend to attend regional meetings in which Kosovo is represented, saying this would "now allow for an effective and inclusive cooperation throughout the region."

Serbia does not recognise the 2008 unilateral proclamation of Kosovo's independence, backed by some 90 nations including the US and most EU members, and had blocked Pristina's participation at regional meetings.

"But the work does not end here," Van Rompuy said, urging both sides to push ahead in implementing deals agreed during months of EU-sponsored talks.

In March, negotiators from Belgrade and Pristina agreed to allow Kosovo "to participate and sign new agreements on its own account and to speak for itself at all regional meetings".

Under the deal, an asterisk was to be added to Kosovo's name, with a footnote reading: "This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244 and the International Court of Justice's opinion" on Kosovo 2008 declaration of independence.

Belgrade up until last weekend insisted the full text of the footnote be displayed on Kosovo's name plate, while Pristina wanted it to read just Kosovo*.

In a statement Sunday, Belgrade conceded that the "footnote is not obliged to be on the (Kosovo) plate" but only to be quoted "at least at the first mention (of Kosovo) in all documents" issued at the meetings.


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