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EU-sponsored talks finally produced a hard-won normalisation accord Friday between Serbia and breakaway Kosovo which was hailed in Brussels as a key step away from a violent past and towards closer ties with the EU.
Below are key dates since the predominantly ethnic-Albanian province declared independence in 2008.
- February 17, 2008: Kosovo's parliament declares independence, sparking a fierce reaction in Serbia which refused to recognise Pristina. Since then, Kosovo has won international recognition from nearly 100 countries, including the United States and most members of the European Union. Traditional ally Russia stands by Belgrade.
- December 9, 2008: EU's police and justice mission, Eulex, aimed at strengthening rule of law in Kosovo, gets underway.
- May 9, 2009: Kosovo joins the International Monetary Fund and, the month after, the World Bank.
- July 22, 2010: the top UN court gives its backing to Kosovo's independence declaration, saying it conformed to international law.
- September 9, 2010: The UN General Assembly passes a landmark resolution calling for dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.
- December 12, 2010: Parliamentary elections are held in Kosovo. European observers say there were "serious allegations of fraud."
- March 8, 2011: Serbia, which wants to join the EU, and Kosovo, launch their first EU sponsored high-level direct talks since 2008.
- April 7, 2011: Former police captain Atifete Jahjaga is elected president by the Kosovar parliament.
- September 10, 2012: Western powers end their supervision over Kosovo, with the territory assuming full sovereignty, which is rejected by ethnic Serbs living in the north.
- October 19, 2012: First meeting between Serbian and Kosovo prime ministers Ivica Dacic and Hashim Thaci in Brussels as part of EU-sponsored dialogue.
- November 29, 2012: Former prime minister and rebel chief Ramush Haradinaj is acquitted by the Hague-based UN war crimes tribunal of charges of war crimes during the 1990s conflict.
- February 6, 2013: The presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Tomislav Nikolic and Jahjaga, meet for the first time in talks mediated by the EU.
- March 28, 2013: Eulex court condemns two Kosovo Serbs to 18 and 22 months in prison over their role in 2008 violence that left a policeman dead.
- April 2, 2013: The latest round of EU-sponsored talks between Serbian and Kosovar prime ministers aimed at normalising relations between Serbia and Kosovo begins.
- April 19, 2013: EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashtion announces that Dacic and Thaci have signed a normalisation accord. "What we are seeing is a step away from the past and, for both of them, a step closer to Europe," Ashton says.