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Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic on Tuesday ruled out holding a referendum on a historic agreement toward improving relations with Kosovo.
In an interview with Kyodo News, Dacic, speaking through an interpreter, said, "There is not going to be a referendum," stating the Serbian government's position on the issue for the first time after it struck the deal with Kosovo on April 19.
The accord grants a broad range of autonomy to the Serbians who effectively control Kosovo's northern enclaves, in line with the law of the predominantly Albanian Kosovo. It notes that Serbia and Kosovo will not block each other's path toward the European Union.
Opposed to Kosovo's independence from Serbia, Kosovo Serbs have spurned the agreement and called for a referendum. Prime Minister Dacic has said he does not recognize Kosovo's independence.
Kosovo is a province of the former Yugoslav Republic of Serbia. In the late 1990s, Serbs, and Albanians seeking independence got engaged in full-scale hostilities.
Serbian security forces pulled out from Kosovo following the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.