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Kosovo president expects to reach "historic" deal with Serbia this year

From Reuters - February 13, 2018

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo expects to resolve outstanding issues with Serbia this year by reaching an historic agreement that would pave the way for the Balkan country to get a seat at the United Nations, President Hashim Thaci said on Tuesday.

Kosovo seceded a decade ago from Serbia, but its independence has not been recognized by Belgrade, which together with its traditional allies Moscow and Beijing has blocked Pristinas bid for a U.N. seat.

As Belgrade moves closer to membership in the European Union, Serbian authorities are under pressure to resolve relations with neighbors including Kosovo.

The deal between Kosovo and Serbia, which I believe will happen in 2018, will be a historic, a comprehensive agreement which will result in Kosovos membership in United Nations, Thaci told Reuters in an interview.

Serbia lost control over Kosovo in 1999 when NATO waged a bombing campaign to halt killings of ethnic Albanians in a two-year counter-insurgency war. Nearly a decade later, in 2008, Kosovo declared independence, backed by the United States and most of the Western European states.

Kosovos independence has been recognized by 115 states so far.

Thaci said the agreement with Serbia would bring full normalization of relations between the former foes, although they may not be required to recognize each other as independent states.

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