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Ashton heading to Serbia to meet new cabinet

27 April 2014, 22:36 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will visit Serbia on Monday, a day after the swearing-in of a new government expected to lead the country towards EU membership.

Ashton will meet President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and address parliament while in Belgrade, a statement from her office said.

"Serbia has made impressive progress on its European path over the last years, most notably starting the accession talks with the European Union and embarking on a process of normalising relations with Pristina," Ashton said in the statement.

She will also meet First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and parliament speaker Maja Gojkovic.

Vucic won a landslide victory in a March vote called after Serbia began EU membership talks in the wake of a landmark accord with breakaway Kosovo last year that was brokered by Ashton.

Vucic, 44, was once an ultra-nationalist hawk but reinvented himself as a pro-European anti-corruption campaigner.

His government will have to take further steps in normalising relations with Kosovo, a key condition for Serbia's EU membership hopes.

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