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Serbia names its first diplomatic envoy to Kosovo

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Serbia named its key negotiator for Kosovo as its first diplomatic representative to Pristina since the breakaway territory unilaterally declared independence in 2008, an official said Monday.

The move, seen as a further step in improving relations between Belgrade and Pristina under EU-mediated dialogue, came just a few days after Kosovo named a career diplomat, Lulzim Peci, as its representative to Serbia.

"The government of Serbia has named Dejan Pavicevic as a liaison officer to Pristina," spokesman Milivoje Mihajlovic told AFP.

He could not say when Pavicevic, 33, would take up the post.

Pavicevic's role "will be to ease communication and oversee the implementation of the agreements" reached between Belgrade and Pristina, he said.

Pavicevic, a legal expert, has been a key member and chief negotiator for Belgrade since the dialogue with Pristina was launched under EU auspices in March 2011.

The two representatives will be based in the EU's offices in the Serbian and Kosovo capitals.

Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence in 2008, is recognised by nearly 100 countries, while Belgrade still opposes the move and considers the territory its southern province.

The two sides began EU-mediated talks aimed at normalising their relations in March 2011.

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 to resume later this month.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130204/serbia-names-its-first-diplomatic-envoy-kosovo