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Kosovo says it’s ready to resume dialogue with Serbia

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Kosovo’s acting prime minister on Wednesday assured a European Union special envoy of his commitment to resume dialogue with neighboring Serbia on normalizing ties.

Albin Kurti, who heads a caretaker cabinet, also asked in a letter to new EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak that any final agreement should be guaranteed by the EU and the United States.

He said a deal should be accompanied by a “political, economic and financial package” to “accelerate the convergence of the two countries’ standards of living and their integration into the European Union.”

But Kurti warned that “under no circumstances or situation will issues of mutual sovereignty, territorial integrity and internal affairs be discussed.”

Last week Kosovo lifted a 100% tariff on imports from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in a sign of good will to resume the dialogue.

Kosovo imposed the punitive tariffs in November 2018 over Serbian efforts to block Kosovo from joining international organizations. The dispute led to the suspension of European Union-mediated talks to normalize relations between Pristina and Belgrade.

Kosovo was formerly a part of Serbia and won independence after a 1999 NATO bombing campaign that ended a bloody Serb crackdown on an armed uprising by members of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority.

Serbia refuses to accept Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence.

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