BELGRADE, Serbia, Aug. 25 (UPI) — A top Serbian foreign affairs official says Serbia must begin international discussions on the status of northern Kosovo.
“We must preserve our influence in Kosovo, and create conditions for the status of northern Kosovo, which would be acceptable for the people residing there, so that Serbia can at the same time become an EU member state,” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Dragoljub Micunovic told the Belgrade-based daily Politika.
Serbia’s refusal to recognize Kosovo as an independent country has hurt its efforts to join the European Union. Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, has been recognized by 81 countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday she believes Serbia belongs in the European Union but bilateral ties with Kosovo must be normalized
Micunovic said the withdrawal of Serbian institutions from the north of Kosovo should not be a condition for joining the European Union because Serbia has mostly fulfilled the necessary conditions, Tanjug reported Thursday.
“However, the question is whether the date for commencement of accession talks will be determined. This remains uncertain. It is evident that this will be related to a status of northern Kosovo,” Micunovic was quoted as saying.