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    'No More Time to Lose:' EU Calls on Kosovo to Revoke Serbian Duties

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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini told Hashim Thaci, the leader of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, that tariffs on Serbian goods, recently introduced by Pristina, should be abandoned as soon as possible for the normalization of Kosovar-Serbian relations.

    "Spoke to President @HashimThaciRKS: reiterated that the tariffs need to be revoked so #Dialogue is resumed as soon as possible. Normalisation of relations crucial for #Kosovo #Serbia #WesternBalkans #EU. No more time to lose," Mogherini wrote on Twitter on Friday.

    Kosovo introduced 100 percent tariffs on goods from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in November, at the same time banning all goods that were not marked in line with Kosovar regulations. However, several foreign companies running the production on Serbia's soil were reportedly exempted from the tariffs.

    READ MORE: Problem of Kosovo Will Not Be Solved Soon – Serbian President Vucic

    The move was harshly criticized by Belgrade and the European Union and put the dialogue on the normalization of ties between Pristina and Belgrade at risk with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic reportedly saying that the talks would continue only after the tariffs were revoked.

    Thaci has said in an interview with Sputnik that the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo should be unconditional and cannot be tied to the removal of Pristina's recently imposed tariffs. According to various media reports, taxes on Serbian imports were hiked after Pristina accused Belgrade of lobbying against having it be accepted into Interpol.

    Kosovo's Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has said that the tariffs would remain in place "until Belgrade recognizes the independence of Kosovo".

    READ MORE: EU-Kosovo Rapprochement Depends on Pristina-Belgrade De-Escalation — Berlin

    Serbia said the measure has led to losses averaging $49 million a month and shortages of medicine and other necessities in the Serbian-majority regions of Kosovo.

    Russian envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov said in December, that the introduced import duties practically brings local Serbian residents to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

    Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognized by over 100 UN member states. Belgrade continues to consider it part of the Serbian territory.

    Two members of the UN Security Council — Russia and China — and a number of other countries do not recognize Kosovo's independence either. Belgrade and Pristina began EU-mediated reconciliation talks in 2011.

    READ MORE: Creation of Kosovo Army Violates UN Security Council Resolution — Russian Envoy

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    EU-Kosovo Rapprochement Depends on Pristina-Belgrade De-Escalation - Berlin
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    Tags:
    revoke, tariffs, crisis, Federica Mogherini, Hashim Thaci, EU, Serbia, Kosovo
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