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EU: Serbia, Kosovo Premiers to Meet Again

W460

The Serbian and Kosovo premiers will meet again next month after holding further talks Tuesday to advance their EU-brokered normalization accord, officials said.

Serb Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaci met under the auspices of EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton to discuss progress on the deal, especially holding local elections on November 3.

Both "reiterated their commitment to successful elections ... and confirmed they will continue their intensive preparations for a smooth electoral process," Ashton said in a statement.

"We will continue our discussions on 8 September," she added after the meeting.

In April, Ashton got both sides to agree to normalize ties, clearing the way for Belgrade and Pristina to improve links with the European Union, but implementation remains difficult.

Kosovo Serb leaders earlier this month threatened to boycott the November 3 vote, saying it was unacceptable if organised under local laws.

Some 40,000 Serbs live in the north and still refuse to recognize Pristina's authority after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

The community boycotted the last local polls in 2010.

Tuesday's meeting in Brussels had been expected to focus on telecommunications and energy as the two sides feud over dividing up resources and control over them.

Kosovo's international call number is currently that of Serbia and it wants to have its own separate telecoms network while Belgrade seeks to maintain its mobile operators in the north.

Similarly on energy, Kosovo wants to have its own electric grid.

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