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Kosovo-Serbia summit with Macron, Merkel on Friday to relaunch talks

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a video summit on Friday with the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo, a source in the Elysee Palace said on Monday.

Paris, 6 July 2020 (dpa/MIA) – French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a video summit on Friday with the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo, a source in the Elysee Palace said on Monday.

The summit will relaunch an EU-backed dialogue between Serbia and its former autonomous province that stalled 18 months ago, the source said.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovan Prime Minister Avduallah Hoti are expected to join the French and German leaders, as well as EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, by video conference on Friday.

The two Balkan leaders will then meet in person in Brussels on Sunday to get the dialogue going again, European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano announced on Monday.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a decade after gaining de facto self rule when a rebellion against Belgrade by members of the ethnic Albanian majority was met with harsh repression followed by NATO intervention.

Serbia has never recognized its independence, but has taken steps to normalize relations with it.

After the EU-led dialogue process broke down, the US sought to hold talks in the White House last month, but Hoti pulled out after international prosecutors indicted Kosovan President Hashim Thaci on war crimes charges.

Hoti and Vucic are both expected to visit Macron ahead of the summit, on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

On Sunday, Borrell and the EU’s special representative for Belgrade-Pristina relations, Miroslav Lajcak, plan to attend their talks in Brussels.

The two sets of discussions are “feeding into each other”, according to Stano.

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