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Serbian, Kosovo presidents to meet for the first time

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic will meet his Kosovo counterpart Atifete Jahjaga in Brussels next week, in a first such meeting since breakaway Kosovo declared independence in 2008, officials said Friday.

"President Nikolic will meet Atifete Jahjaga in Brussels on Wednesday, February 6," said the message on Nikolic's official Twitter account.

A source from the presidency confirmed to AFP the authenticity of the tweet, but could not reveal further details.

In Brussels, officials could not confirm the meeting on Wednesday.

But a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that such an encounter, should it happen, would have a positive impact on normalising ties between Serbia and Kosovo, a former Serbian province.

"We believe that such a meeting would be important, particularly in the context of the normalisation of relations between the two sides, and would like to see it happen as soon as possible," said Maja Kocijancic.

Belgrade does not recognise Kosovo’s unilateral independence declaration from Serbia in 2008.

However in March 2011 under EU auspices, the two sides began talks aimed at normalising their relations.

So far, they have agreed on border controls, customs and other issues aimed at easing day-to-day life for Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanian population of 1.7 million.

Talks between Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci, are also to resume in February.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130201/serbian-kosovo-presidents-meet-the-first-time