World Bulletin / News Desk
Serbia and Kosovo agreed in principle on Wednesday on a plan to implement an historic accord to settle their relations, a step that strengthens Serbia's chances of getting the go-ahead next month to start talks on joining the European Union.
Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci, reached the draft agreement in two days of talks in Brussels, chaired by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
The two leaders will return to their capitals to consult other political leaders however before giving their final verdict on the plan, which sets out concrete steps for putting into practice a groundbreaking agreement to normalise relations which was agreed in April.
Ashton said in a statement that the two prime ministers had agreed on "a fixed text which they are now consulting upon. They will be in touch with me by the end of the week."
No details of the draft agreement were made public.
Serbia agreed on April 19 to cede its last remaining foothold in its former province of Kosovo in return for the prospect of talks on eventually joining the EU.
The deal, brokered by the EU, capped six months of delicate negotiations and marked a milestone for the region's recovery from the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
The agreement outlined an end to the ethnic partition of Kosovo between its Albanian majority and a small, Belgrade-backed pocket of some 50,000 Serbs in the north.
The north Kosovo Serbs have threatened to resist integration with the rest of Kosovo, in a region bristling with weapons.
Following the accord, the EU's executive Commission encouraged EU governments to start membership talks with Serbia, but the bloc wants to see a plan for implementing the agreement and progress on the ground before taking a final decision in late June.
If implemented, the deal could unlock Serbia's potential as the largest market in the former Yugoslavia, taking the country from international pariah status under late strongman Slobodan Milosevic to the threshold of mainstream Europe.
According to Palestinian Red Crescent, two Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire – and at least 750 injured – within last week alone
Government also claims to have seized top financier of Boko Haram insurgent group
Tripoli-based General National Congress to propose names for handful of government posts, including PM and deputy PM
New York, Paris talks result into 'end of hot phase of conflict', according to Poroshenko
Attackers target residential area in provincial capital as part of suspected bomb campaign by Boko Haram
Red Crescent reports 18-year-old Palestinian is in intensive care but in stable condition after shooting
'We, as Muslims, do not accept the temporal and spatial division of Al-Aqsa,' says head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Gormez
Thousands of people have rallied in Dresden protesting Merkel's refugee plans.
Ineffective equipment sold to the Iraqi army, was found the have a success rate of less than 30%
Israeli move comes after Palestinian president instructed security forces, political factions to prevent any escalation of violence which raised fears of new intifada or uprising
With more than 1.3 million Ukrainians in Canada representing one of the largest groups of Ukrainians in the world, their votes are pivotal in the upcoming Canadian elections.
The general in charge of the failed coup in Burkina Faso last month has been formally charged, along with one other top official accused of supporting the overthrow of Burkina Faso's government.
Officials say Turkey expected to bolster border security while EU offers 1 billion euros in aid for refugees
Dozen clerics accused of radicalizing, recruiting youths for al-Shabab
At the request of officials from the White House Office of Digital Strategy, the crowdfunding website Kickstarter has begun its first social service campaign aimed at raising money for the United Nations refugee agency on behalf of Syrian refugees.
First phase, which essentially entailed compiling and analysing information on the trafficker networks, has been up and running since June