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    Kosovar Albanians walk under the EU and Kosovo flags in the main square of Pristina on May 4, 2016.

    EU-Kosovo Rapprochement Depends on Pristina-Belgrade De-Escalation - Berlin

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    BERLIN (Sputnik) - The normalization of relations between Serbia and the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo is a crucial condition for rapprochement between Pristina and the European Union, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday.

    "The normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is a central condition for Pristina's rapprochement with the European Union," Maas said at a press conference after his talks with Kosovar Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli.

    Maas added that Germany supported the prospect of all Western Balkan nations to join the European Union and, in the case of Kosovo, was ready to "actively work" on this matter.

    READ MORE: Protests Against Serbian Authorities Held in Belgrade (PHOTO, VIDEO)

    The foreign minister recalled that Germany was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of the republic in 2008 and had supported the path chosen by Kosovo from the very beginning.

    The relations between Kosovo and Serbia have recently become particularly tense in light of the self-proclaimed republic’s decision to create a national army. Moreover, in November, Kosovar authorities set a customs duty of 100 percent on all products from Serbia and also banned all goods that were not marked with symbols of Kosovo, as is required by the rules of the self-proclaimed republic. However, several foreign companies producing goods on Serbia's soil were exempt from the tariffs.

    The partially recognized Republic of Kosovo has been vying for EU membership almost since proclaiming its independence from Serbia. The third stabilization and association council between the bloc and Kosovo was held in Brussels in December to look at Pristina’s progress in implementing political, economic and other provisions needed to pursue EU membership.

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    Tags:
    stabilization, independence, Kosovo War, Heiko Maas, Pristina, Serbia, Kosovo
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