World Bulletin / News Desk
Serbia's troubled relations with Kosovo will force it to wait longer to start membership talks with European Union, EU diplomats said on Tuesday.
In its annual report Wednesday on countries lining up to join the EU, the European Commission is expected to say the former Yugoslav state has not done enough to mend ties with Kosovo since becoming a membership candidate in March.
Serbia has been seen as a pariah of the Balkans, linked to its central role in the bloody wars that tore through the peninsula after the collapse of Yugoslavia.
"It will not get a recommendation yet, it's not in the cards," one EU diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Serbia lost control over Kosovo in 1999 after an 11-week NATO air war to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians by Serb forces fighting a two-year counter-insurgency war under late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
More than 90 countries, including the United States and 22 of the EU's 27 members, have recognised the impoverished, landlocked country as a sovereign state.
Belgrade has vowed never to do so, but is under pressure from the EU to improve cooperation with Pristina in a range of fields, ranging from trade, to state institutions and security.