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Kosovo Grants Amnesty to Rebel Serbs

Kosovo took Thursday a key step towards normalization of its ties with Belgrade, granting amnesty to Serbs in the breakaway territory who have opposed through violence its 2008 independence from Serbia.

The amnesty bill, aimed at facilitating implementation of an EU-brokered agreement on improving relations with Serbia, was passed by huge majority of 90 Kosovo lawmakers in the 120-seat parliament, speaker Jakup Krasniqi said.

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Kosovo Introduces Visa Regime for 87 Countries

Kosovo on Monday started a visa regime for citizens of 87 countries, including China and Russia, for the first time since it declared independence from Serbia.

"Just issued the first entry visa of the Republic of Kosovo to a citizen from Ghana," Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj wrote on his Twitter account.

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Kosovo Nationalists Protest Serbia Deal Ratification

Clashes broke out on Thursday in front of the parliament building in Pristina between police and some 300 Kosovo nationalists protesting against an EU-brokered deal to normalize ties with Serbia.

Seventeen police officers sustained slight injuries while 68 demonstrators were detained. Authorities deployed pepper spray to break up the protesters, who sought in vain to block parliamentary ratification of the accord.

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Ashton Says Serbia, Kosovo Made Some Headway towards Normalizing Ties

EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said early Friday that the premiers of Serbia and Kosovo made some headway towards normalizing ties, during overnight talks in Brussels.

In a statement issued after a six-hour meeting into the wee hours, Ashton said the Serbia and Kosovo prime ministers, Ivica Dacic and Hashim Thaci, "agreed a number of open issues, in particular in the field of justice, police and upcoming municipal elections."

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Serbia, Kosovo PMs Meet in Push to Open EU door

EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said early Friday that the premiers of Serbia and Kosovo made some headway towards normalizing ties, during overnight talks in Brussels.

In a statement issued after a six-hour meeting into the wee hours, Ashton said the Serbia and Kosovo prime ministers, Ivica Dacic and Hashim Thaci, "agreed a number of open issues, in particular in the field of justice, police and upcoming municipal elections."

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Serbia, Kosovo PMs to Hold Fresh EU Talks before Summit

The premiers of Serbia and Kosovo will hold fresh talks in Brussels on Thursday as the pair speed up efforts to normalize ties in a bid to win European Union support at a key summit next week.

Catherine Ashton, who heads EU foreign policy, said in a statement Monday she would meet the Serbia and Kosovo prime ministers, Ivica Dacic and Hashim Thaci, to "discuss progress in the implementation" of an historic April deal to defuse tension in the last Balkans' trouble-spot.

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Serbia PM Rules Out Serb State in Northern Kosovo

Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dacic on Wednesday categorically ruled out the creation of a separate Serb state inside northern Kosovo and pledged instead to implement an historic deal to normalize ties between Belgrade and Pristina.

At a hearing of the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee, Dacic reiterated his government's intention to stand by a deal brokered by the EU on April 19 that has angered many of the 40,000 ethnic Serbs resident in northern Kosovo.

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Serbia, Kosovo Ratify Implementation Deal

Serbia and Kosovo have adopted a roadmap on implementing their historic deal to normalize relations, taking another step key to their integration into the European Union, officials said on Monday.

The governments in Belgrade and Pristina both approved an implementation plan to their landmark EU-brokered deal reached in April for the former foes to normalize relations, officials said.

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Germany Seeks 'Visible' Kosovo-Serbia Progress

Germany on Monday called for "visible" progress in implementing a landmark deal between Serbia and Kosovo before securing Berlin's backing for Belgrade's bid to join the European Union.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle hailed the April 19 EU-brokered agreement to normalize ties between Serbia and its former southern province as "historic" but said momentum needed to be continued.

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Serbia, Kosovo to Meet Next Week on Brussels Accord

The prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo will meet in Brussels on May 21 for follow-up talks on an EU-brokered deal aimed at normalizing their ties, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's office said Tuesday.

Ashton "invited Prime Minister (Ivaca) Dacic and Prime Minister (Hashim) Thaci for a meeting next week, on 21 May, in Brussels, to discuss the joint steps they need to take for the implementation of the April agreement.

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